Former Flowery Branch quarterback Jaybo Shaw shies away from the idea of being the player responsible for putting Falcon football on the map.
“I played with such great guys and under such great coaches,” Shaw said. “I think if it weren’t for those two things Flowery Branch football wouldn’t be where it is.
“I really don’t think that I played a bigger part than the guy next to me.”
Be that as it may, Shaw was the starting quarterback for a program that went from being 2-8 his freshman year to losing only two games in each of the next three seasons and making three straight trips to the state playoffs, including a state quarterfinal appearance in 2005.
While he’s humble about it, it’s hard to argue that the program’s turnaround wasn’t a direct result of Shaw’s play.
He finished his career at Flowery Branch with 9,340 total yards and 127 touchdowns. His junior year alone, Shaw threw for 2,700 yards and 28 touchdowns and rushed for 1,500 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Following his senior year, he was named to the North squad in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association’s All-Star Game and was a first-team Class AAA All-State selection.
And now, Shaw is being named one of the top high school athletes of the decade as part of the Northeast Georgia Sports Hall of Fame’s Elite 10.
“This is a great honor,” Shaw said. “With the great athletes that have come out of this area, it’s a great honor to be considered one of the greats of the decade.”
As Shaw’s high school career wound down, his stock skyrocketed. He was ranked as the nation’s 10th-best dual-threat quarterback prospect nationally and was among Rivals.com’s top 50 prospects in Georgia. He was also rated the 56th best quarterback in the nation by Scout.com.
“Playing at Flowery Branch was a blessing,” Shaw said. “People think football isn’t the same up north (in Georgia), but I got to play with and against some of the best in the state and it made me a better all-around football player.”
Shaw signed with Georgia Tech out of high school and made his presence felt immediately.
In his freshman year for the Yellow Jackets, Shaw came off the bench to contribute in several games finishing the season with three passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns.
His most impressive outing, however, came against Duke in his first career start. Shaw was 9-of-13 passing for 230 yards — the most ever by a Tech quarterback in his debut. Shaw also connected with Demaryius Thomas on an 88-yard touchdown pass, the third-longest in Tech history, and rushed for another touchdown.
Now, Shaw is working this summer to ensure that if called upon again, he’s able to contribute the same if not better.
“When it’s my time to come in and help us win games, whether is at quarterback or on special teams, whatever I have to do I’m going to do,” Shaw said. “I’ve been working since May 11 and I’m the strongest I’ve ever been and the fastest I’ve ever been and I’m looking forward to the season.”
The Northeast Georgia Sports Hall of Fame is located in the Northeast Georgia History Center on the campus of Brenau University.
The History Center will recognize athletic excellence at a luncheon 11:30 a.m., Aug. 29, the Georgia Mountain Center in downtown Gainesville. Guest speaker Damon Evans, athletic director for the University of Georgia, will help honor 15 Northeast Georgia Athletes and one highly successful team. There will be five retired athletes inducted into the Northeast Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. An additional “Elite 10” athletes, some of Northeast Georgia’s best athletes of the last 10 years.
Table sponsorships are available for $350, and table sponsors may choose to have their table host one of the athletes to be recognized on a first-come, first-served basis. A limited number of individual tickets are available for $25. Call the History Center at 770-297-5900 to make your reservations.