ATLANTA — Josh Nesbitt’s pain has turned out to be Jaybo Shaw’s gain.
Each time Nesbitt, Georgia Tech’s starting quarterback, has been hampered with an injury, Shaw has been quick to pick up the slack.
Saturday’s T-Day spring game at Georgia Tech was the latest opportunity for Shaw, a sophomore, to get into the spotlight with Nesbitt held out of action since taking a hard fall on his non-throwing shoulder in an April 11 scrimmage.
Even though he fumbled a pitch on the first play from scrimmage, and three times in all on T-Day, the Times’ 2006 Area Football Player of the Year had another steady game with three touchdowns for the first team offense at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
He also proved quick on his feet eluding a second quarter sack, and then finding junior wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for a 25-yard gain.
Shaw completed each of his three passes to Thomas on the first team’s second touchdown drive of the second half, and finished the 13 series he played going 12 of 20 passing for 198 yards.
"I didn’t play as well as I wanted to today," Shaw said. "But playing with the No. 1 unit will only help to make me better."
Shaw’s numbers this spring have reflected the consistency the Flowery Branch High graduate put up as a true freshman in 2008. He earned the right to lead the No. 1 offense in the spring game after rushing for 67 yards, completing 2-of-4 passes and scoring three touchdowns in relief of Nesbitt in Georgia Tech’s third team scrimmage a week ago.
Last season, it was a similar story when Shaw was thrust into action in Week 4 against Mississippi State after Nesbitt sustained a hamstring injury only eight plays into the game. It didn’t take long for him to throw his first touchdown with a 20-yard strike to Thomas.
Shaw’s only start of the 2008 season came against Duke on Oct. 4, where he passed for 230 yards.
The biggest change with Shaw this spring is his new physique now weighting 198 pounds, up from the 182 he took the field at last season.
"With my new size, the hits don’t hurt as bad as they used to," Shaw added. "I take pride in taking a hit and getting right back up."
Georgia Tech offensive lineman Nick Claytor, a Gainesville High grad, had back surgery the first week of spring practice and was held out of the spring T-Day game. Claytor started the final five games of the 2008 season, playing at both right and left tackle, helping a Yellow Jackets’ rushing game that averaged 273 yards on the ground per game.
Georgia Tech topped 400-yards rushing in wins against Georgia and Miami last season.
Dawson County High graduated Logan Walls got in the game early Saturday and saw action with the second team unit at defensive tackle, including a third quarter tackle, and is listed as third string on the defensive line. Walls played in three games last season and is expected to see more time in 2009 with four starters from last season now departing the program.