The same high school in Potomac, Maryland, produced Dwayne Haskins Jr. and now Bryson Shaw.
On the field, the two Bullis School products don’t have much in common. Haskins is already known for his placid demeanor almost as much as his gifted arm.
No one would call Shaw placid on the football field.
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“In school, he’s very quiet and reserved, a lot like Dwayne was,” Bullis coach Pat Cilento said. “But once he’s on the field, he’s an animal. He’s all over the place. He makes plays and isn’t afraid to tell people he made plays.”
Shaw, who is committed to Ohio State as a safety, acknowledged that he likes to chirp on the field.
“When I step on the field, I let it all out and I’m going to let you know about it, too,” he said. “That’s just how it is. But off the field, I’m a really humble dude.”
Haskins was a prototype quarterback prospect. At 175 pounds, Shaw is hardly the same for a safety. As a three-star prospect, he has been overshadowed by some other commitments in Ohio State’s 2019 recruiting class.
But his self-confidence, competitiveness and speed set him apart, Cilento said.
“In my neighborhood, all my friends were 3 or 4 years older than me,” Shaw said. “Backyard football is where it all started. I just always had a chip on my shoulder. Even now, I get people coming up to me saying I’m too small or come up with these crazy statements.
“I just use it every time I’m playing. That’s what I think of — all the negative things people have said. I play with a lot of anger.”
The main reason Shaw weighs only 175 pounds is that he’s also an elite lacrosse player — one of the best nationally — as a midfielder. He actually committed to play lacrosse at Maryland as an eighth-grader.
When he shifted his focus to football, Shaw committed to Wisconsin before reconsidering and pledging to Ohio State earlier this year.
“He plays lacrosse so it’s hard for him to put on weight,” Cilento said. “But he makes up for that in speed. He might be the fastest kid I’ve ever coached.”
Shaw said he has never been timed in the 40-yard dash but believes he’d be in the 4.4 range. Cilento uses him in a variety of ways. Shaw plays wingback on offense and also has been used as a linebacker and cornerback as well as safety.
“We play him everywhere, and he can do it all,” Cilento said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete. He’s by guys before they even know it.”
Shaw transferred to Bullis as a sophomore to play lacrosse, but his football talent was apparent right away. His junior season began with a bang. He returned the opening kickoff in the first game for a touchdown. On Bullis’ first defensive play seconds later, Shaw returned a fumble for a touchdown.
Cilento said that Shaw scored nine touchdowns 80 yards or longer a year ago in five ways – running, receiving, punt return, kickoff return and fumble recovery. He also had a long interception return for a score.
Though he didn’t play with Haskins at Bullis, Shaw has become friends with him.
“He comes back to Bullis in the offseason,” Shaw said. “We have a great relationship. He’s a great guy and he helped me with the recruiting process. He’s a really good dude.”