Shaw's teammates: QB is as tough as they come

jkendall@thestate.comFebruary 23, 2014 

— When a reporter at the NFL Combine tried to explain to Victor Hampton that Connor Shaw might not have all the qualities professional teams want in a quarterback, Hampton couldn’t even stand to let him finish.

“Why?” Hampton asked.

“He’s the toughest quarterback in the SEC, plays through every injury you can possibly think of. He can run the ball but he can also throw the ball. I mean, he’s a winner and at the end of the day, isn’t that what quarterbacks are about? Isn’t that what you want at quarterback?”

If there are teams that have doubts about Shaw’s NFL bona fides, he did his best to change their minds the last four days at the NFL Combine. Shaw and the rest of the draft eligible quarterbacks did their on-field workouts Sunday, and Shaw had the third-fastest 40-yard dash time (4.66 seconds), the third-highest vertical jump (34 inches), the fifth-best broad jump (9 feet, 8 inches) and the fifth-best three-cone drill (7.07 seconds) among the signal-callers.

“Connor Shaw had a great day. @CFD22 agrees,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah tweeted Sunday.

Shaw also did a lot of talking in Indianapolis, meeting with Baltimore, Jacksonville, Houston, Nashville, Carolina, St. Louis, Seattle, Oakland, Denver, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Miami at the combine. And, if any of those teams talked to Shaw’s teammates, they were sure to get an earful of praise.

“He’s a leader man. He’s a fighter,” wide receiver Bruce Ellington said. “He’s going to go out there and give it everything he’s got and a lot of teams need that.”

Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, about whose physical readiness for the league there are no doubts, also believes Shaw has what it takes. Shaw finished his South Carolina career 27-5 as a starting quarterback. As a senior, he threw 24 touchdown passes and one interception.

“I believe Connor Shaw has everything it takes to be an NFL quarterback,” Clowney said. “He’s out there playing hurt, he pushes through practice. He comes back when we need him in clutch moments. Against Missouri, he came back hurt and gave us a chance to win that game. He’s a great quarterback. He can throw it, he can run, makes great calls out there. My hats off to Connor Shaw.”

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