The Syracuse University football staff got a big commitment in terms of both size and important on Saturday, as 6-foot-1, 220 pound running back Jo-El Shaw announced his intention to play for the Orange as part of the recruiting class of 2016. Shaw is a big time pickup for the Orange and gives them a power back to complement the smaller, shiftier players already on the roster.

Shaw comes from one of the biggest high school football powers in Pennsylvania in Woodland Hills, and Syracuse and head coach Dino Babers did some difficult work prying a Pittsburgh player away from his hometown Panthers. That’s not something Syracuse has been able to do much lately, and it represent a huge victory on the recruiting trail.

Shaw is a former Western Michigan commit who also had high interest from Pitt, and shared backfield duties last season with Miles Sanders, the top rated running back in the nation. Shaw scored 25 touchdowns and rushed for more than 1,200 yards (compared to 1,400 for Sanders) as part of a lethal thunder and lightning combination last season.

While Shaw is definitely a bruising back, the talented 3-star recruit who was actually born in Utica also boasts 4.59 speed in the 40, so he’s got the capability to bust a few long runs. More importantly, though, the Orange will finally have a big, strong back to get those tough yards around the goal line and in short yardage situations. This is a big win for Syracuse.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including,,,, and, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish