This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.
Some of the top collegiate players we have been watching play over the past few years were selected at the NFL Draft in New York City over the weekend. Players from schools all across the country achieve a life-long goal when they hear their name called or see it scroll across the bottom of the television screen, but some players with NFL dreams who were stars in college end up not being drafted.
The reality of some of last year’s top collegiate players not getting drafted, like Texas’ Jackson Jeffcoat (a consensus All-American and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year), got us thinking. Who are the players from the past 10 years who achieved remarkable success in the collegiate game in their final season, but ultimately did not get drafted?
TOP FIVE INDIVIDUAL SEASONS FOR A PLAYER WHO WENT UNDRAFTED
No. 5: Connor Shaw – South Carolina
For number five, we decided to keep it recent.
Despite being the winningest quarterback (27-5) in the history of the University of South Carolina, Connor Shaw was passed over in the 2014 NFL Draft. Shaw’s lack of size (he’s just 6-feet and 206 pounds) and the fact that he played in an offense that ran predominantly out of the shotgun were the main knocks on Shaw as an NFL prospect, but it’s a bit surprising that a team didn’t take a shot on him in the late rounds of the draft.
Shaw, who signed with the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent, led the Gamecocks to three straight 11-win seasons during his time in Columbia and his senior season was his best.
Shaw showed off his versatile game with 2,447 passing yards and 558 rushing yards while scoring a total of 31 touchdowns (24 passing, 6 rushing, 1 receiving). What was most impressive about Shaw’s 2013 campaign is that he threw just one interception in 284 attempts. Shaw, who finished his South Carolina career with a 17-0 record as a starter at Williams-Brice Stadium, helped the Gamecocks rebound from a disappointing Week 7 loss at Tennessee with six straight wins to end the season.
The regular season culminated with a 31-17 triumph over in-state rival No. 6 Clemson. Shaw, who threw for 152 yards and a touchdown while running for 94 yards and another score, was a key as the Gamecocks reached a five-game winning streak over Clemson for the first time in the series’ 118-year history.
Shaw followed up the Clemson win with one of the best games of his career in a 34-24 Capitol One Bowl win over No. 19 Wisconsin. Shaw was the game’s MVP after he racked up 312 passing yards on 22-of-25 throws, running for 47 yards and a score and also reeling in a nine-yard touchdown catch.
Despite his fantastic touchdown-to-interception ratio and some impressive numbers put up at the combine, Shaw was passed over. He should have a decent shot to make the roster in Cleveland, though. The Browns, who drafted Johnny Manziel in the first round, released veteran QB Vince Young on Monday. In addition to Manziel and Brian Hoyer, last season’s starter, Shaw will compete with Tyler Thigpen for a roster spot. Shaw could be a practice squad candidate as well.
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