I know what you’re thinking: who is Jo-El Shaw? Well, he’s the latest name to emerge as a potential running back pickup for the Syracuse University football team. Shaw, a 6-foot-1, 220 pound back from Woodland Hills High in Pittsburgh, tweeted out his final three school choices earlier tonight, and the Orange are in the mix.

Shaw certainly wasn’t someone most Syracuse fans were aware of earlier today, but with news coming out that Sam Brodner received a Wisconsin offer while on his official visit to SU, Shaw has suddenly become a legitimate possibility for the Orange.

Shaw is a 3-star recruit who had previously been committed to Western Michigan, but recently decommitted. He also holds offers from Pitt, Kansas, UMass, Bowling Green (of course), Temple, Toledo, and Old Dominion. Last season, Shaw rushed for 1,274 yards and 22 touchdowns, while splitting time in the backfield with Miles Sanders, a 5-star talent headed to Penn State and is rated by Scout as the top running back prospect in the class of . Shaw was the thunder to Sanders’ lightning, and the new Syracuse target is definitely a big, bruising back. He looks every bit of his listed size of 6-foot-1, 220, but he reports a time of 4.59 in the 40 so he’s also not a plodder out of the backfield.

People who follow recruiting often talk about creating pipelines to certain high school programs, and if you’re going to get a foot in the door at a high school in Pennsylvania, you’re not going to do much better than Woodland Hills. It’s one of the perennial powers in one of the best football states in the country, with some of its famous alumni including Rob Gronkowski, Jason Taylor, Steve Breaston, Darrin Walls, and Ryan Mundy, among others. If Syracuse wants to get into Western Pennsylvania, this is absolutely the school to start with.

It remains to be seen where Shaw is on Syracuse’s list, if the Orange and new running backs coach Mike Hart – who helped recruit Shaw to WMU in the first place – should have a solid shot of landing him. His hometown school of Pittsburgh is obviously a big threat, but the Panthers are pretty loaded at the position and are still chasing multiple targets, including former Syracuse pledge Robert Washington. There may not wind up being room at the inn for Shaw in Pittsburgh.

Brodner and Dee Eskridge – who, like Shaw, was recruited to Western Michigan by Mike Hart but who, unlike Shaw, has remained committed to the Broncos – still appear to be the top two targets for the Orange. However, it’s looking more and more unlikely that Syracuse will be able to snag either one, particularly with Brodner receiving the offer he seemed to be waiting for from the Badgers. Shaw could quickly emerge as one of Syracuse’s top targets at the running back position.

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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


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