Updated: Aug 21, 2021
Travis Shaw is one of the best prospects that the state of North Carolina has ever seen and just a short time ago, he became the headliner of the Tar Heels’ 2022 and one of the top commitments in school history.
Just after 6:30 PM EST on Saturday, Shaw, the No. 4 overall player in the 2022 cycle according to 247Sports Composite rankings, announced his commitment to the Tar Heels over his other three finalists, Clemson, Georgia and North Carolina A&T. This announcement was the culmination of a push by the Tar Heels to overtake the Tigers, who were the longtime leaders for service until his late June official visit to Chapel Hill, and continues to add a defensive line room that is taking another step towards being one of the best in all of college football.
Shaw, the No. 2 DL in the 2022 class, began his senior season of football at Grimsley High School last night, but was sidelined due to a shoulder injury that he suffered during the team’s road to a state title a few months ago. Shaw was one of the leaders of that charge back in the spring, finishing second on the team in total tackles with 84, an amazing feat for a defensive tackle. He led the Whirlies in tackles for loss with 28.0 and finished second in sacks with 5.0 and quarterback hurries with 16 on his way to earning conference player of the year honors and all-area honors from the Greensboro News & Record. That followed a tremendous sophomore season for him where he was second on the team in tackles (104), tackles for a loss (16.0), sacks (11.0) and quarterback hurries (19) while earning first team all-conference honors once again. Even as a freshman, he was a standout, finishing with 52 total tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack and earning all-conference honors.
Shaw’s film shows you exactly why he is such a highly ranked prospect. His athleticism for a player of his size is extremely impressive and feeds into his versatility that allows him to play all over the defensive line and even stand up at points to rush the passer. That ability to get after the quarterback translates when he takes snaps at the nose tackle spot and makes him the complete nose tackle that the Tar Heels want in the middle of their defense. He has a nice mix of violence and technicality to his game and he does a great job using his long arms to his advantage. His ability to constantly get his hands up to make passes difficult for quarterbacks is something you love to see, especially for as much as he gets double teamed and he has a quick release off of the line of scrimmage. He is an extremely smart player and does a good job of combining that with the athleticism to wreak havoc in opponents backfields. Barring something shocking, especially if Raymond Vohasek departs, Shaw will have a chance to earn a major role for this team early in the middle of the defensive line.
This commitment is a huge one for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is that it gives them their first major win over Clemson on the recruiting trail in a while. Guys like Dexter Lawrence and Trenton Simpson were 5✮ in-state prospects that the Tigers were able to swing in and steal commitments from. Even in this cycle, where many felt the Tar Heels stood a better chance to compete with the Tigers and beat them head-to-head in some battles, Dabo Swinney and his staff flexed the muscle once again to come from behind and land the commitment of 5✮ CB Daylen Everette leaving some wonder if the Tar Heels would have wait even longer to get that crucial win over the Tigers. This is just another statement to the rest of the country and Clemson that they are ready to recruit with the best in the country.
The commitment moves the Tar Heels 2022 class all the way up from No. 21 in the overall class rankings according to 247Sports Composite team rankings to No. 13 and jumps them up to No. 3 in the ACC. Now the Tar Heels will turn their attention to another 5✮ prospect this time on the offensive side of the trenches.