The State Newspaper has selected University of South Carolina (USC) quarterback Connor Shaw as its 2013 South Carolina Amateur Athlete of the Year. Shaw has an interesting and inspiring history. He joined the USC football roster as a 2nd string quarterback in 2010 behind Stephen Garcia. Garcia was a much-beloved hero of the Gamecock faithful, however over time his favor began to wane.
Garcia was a comeback king who could seemingly snatch a game victory in the last seconds. The fans loved his feats on the field, but things changed when stories of his antics off of the field began to overshadow his game performances. Even the “boys will be boys” crowd had to take off their rose-colored glasses as more and more stories appeared about Garcia in trouble. Finally in October 2011, Garcia was once and for all dismissed from the Gamecock football roster.
Garcia had a promising college football career that ended in shame. But what was his misfortune turned out to be a window of opportunity for Connor Shaw. He went from being looked at as an “also ran” to someone who could actually carry the team to victory. In a complete turnaround Garcia became the backup quarterback to Shaw.
Shaw has earned this award several times over, even surpassing hometown hero Todd Ellis’ long-held record for the winningest quarterback in USC history. He is known for his love of anything military, and is even considering a possible career in the military, along with football. And when a non-sports related story features Shaw, it is normally regarding some event he is speaking at, or a charity he is working with. Gamecock fans will have one last opportunity to see Shaw play in a USC uniform. He will be leading the USC Gamecocks on January 1, 2014, as they face the Wisconsin Badgers in the Capital One Bowl.