COMBINE NOTEBOOK

'27-5' Connor Shaw's magic number

jkendall@thestate.comFebruary 22, 2014 

THE STATE

— Connor Shaw accounted for 3,005 yards and 30 touchdowns while throwing only one interception as a senior at South Carolina.

Still, he’d rather the evaluators here at the NFL Combine look at different numbers – 27-5. That was Shaw’s career record with the Gamecocks.

“I think my record speaks for itself,” he said Saturday as he met with the media in Lucas Oil Stadium. “I think people look at your individual stats more than what you did as a team, and this is a team game. Priority No. 1 wherever you go is to win, and we did a bunch of it.

“I believe I am an elite competitor. I think I am going to prove that in the NFL.”

Where Shaw will be picked, or even if he’ll be picked, still is an unknown, but he has met with dozens of teams here and received a lot of positive feedback, he said.

“A good bit of them congratulate me on a good career at South Carolina, and they admire my competitiveness, my toughness, and they just kind of get a feel for what I know from a football standpoint and a little bit about my personal life,” he said. “My job is to compete to the best of my ability, and I am not going to worry about anything but that. There is no pressure on me. I am just going to come out here and do what I do best.”

Shaw, who measured 6-feet and weighed in at 207 pounds, will go through his on-field workouts today.

Sam I Am. South Carolina’s football team would have welcomed Michael Sam, the Missouri defensive lineman who recently announced he is gay, Shaw said.

“He’s a heck of a football player, and we wouldn’t have treated him any differently than anybody else,” Shaw said. “He would have been a great asset to our team and he would have helped us win ballgames, which is priority No. 1.”

Sam, the SEC’s defensive player of the year, was swarmed Saturday when he met the media at the combine.

“I think he has done a great job of handling it,” Shaw said. “I am proud of the way he holds himself, and the way he handles himself on and off the field.”

Pass at your peril. Shaw warned NFL teams not to pass on former teammate Jadeveon Clowney due to whatever work ethic concerns they might have.

“I was with him behind closed doors, and I can tell you, if a team passes up on him, they are going to wish that they had him,” Shaw said. “I was very fortunate that he was on my team for three years.”

Clowney, a two-time All-American, will be a better NFL player than he was a college player, Shaw said.

Clowney also praised Shaw.

“I believe Connor Shaw has everything it takes to be an NFL quarterback,” Clowney said. “He’s a great quarterback. He can throw it, he can run, makes great calls out there.”

Planes, trains, automobiles. Clowney was delayed arriving in Indianapolis on Friday because due to multiple flight delays, he said.

“I was supposed to fly out of Columbia at like 6:45 in the morning. I got there at like 5:45, and then they told me it was going to be like a two-hour delay,” he said.

Clowney then decided to drive to Charlotte to catch a 2:50 p.m. flight, he said.

“And they delayed the plane up there for like two hours and a half, and I was like, ‘This can’t be good. I am never going to make it to Indianapolis,’” he said.

He finally arrived around 8 p.m. and went straight to the hospital for a medical evaluation all prospects undergo.

Dual threat. Clowney is expected to participate in both defensive line and linebackers drills on Monday. If he is drafted No. 1 overall by Houston, he likely would be an outside linebacker in the Texans’ 3-4 system.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” Clowney said. “The scheme I played in in South Carolina, my hand was always down, but I believe I can play standing up also.”

Under-appreciated? Former South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles hopes Clowney isn’t getting too much credit for Quarles’ numbers this season. Quarles led the Gamecocks with 9.5 sacks last season, while Clowney was limited to three sacks in part because he often drew double teams from opponents. Quarles wants people to know that he didn’t succeed only because of the attention Clowney got.

“I do get tired of hearing that, but it is what it is,” he said. “I feel like I was in the weight room working hard at 6 o’clock in the morning. I was out there at two-a-days running hoops so I could get to the quarterback. I’m glad he was out there and that things worked out the way that they did, but at the end of the day, I still had to beat my man to get there.”

Quarles measured 6-foot-3, 298 pounds on Saturday.

“I trimmed down a little bit,” he said. “I look way better than I did. I look real good for my weight right now.”

Watch him go. Former Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins is aiming high when it comes to his 40-yard dash, which he will run today.

“I want to run something crazy, maybe break the combine record,” Watkins said Saturday.

Watkins is expected to be one of the draft’s top 10 overall selections, and he made a compelling case to be selected by the Cleveland Browns with the No. 4 pick. With the Browns, he would be paired with wide receiver Josh Gordon.“For me, Josh Gordon is one of the top receivers in the NFL,” Watkins said.

“I’d kind of take some pressure off him with double coverage and them flipping the coverage to his side.

It would become a nightmare for us to match up with each other.”

Quotable.

“The guy is a hard worker. This guy comes to work every day. He pushes himself and pushes the team. He’s a competitive guy. He wants to be great just like everybody else playing this game. Marcus Lattimore is one of the great backs in South Carolina history, and hopefully he’ll show that in the NFL.” -- Clowney

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