There are a lot of droughts surrounding the Boyd football program heading into the 2019 season, and if rising junior running back Ja'Tyler Shaw has his way, he will play a big part in ending a couple.
Along with being poised to have one of the best statistical seasons in recent memory for the Broncos, Shaw is the official face of the drastically altered Boyd football program.
After playing both sides of the ball, having to deal with the drama surrounding the program and quarterback position last season, Shaw will be leaned upon heavily by new head coach Joe McBride and the rest of the team to be a leader and major contributor in the running game next season.
If Shaw’s 727 yards and 11 touchdowns in part-time running duty last season are any indicator of what lies ahead, the shifty runner could become Boyd’s first running back since Kaeden Markham ran for 1,137 yards in 2016 to go over 1,000 yards.
“I want to get that 1,000-yard running back tradition back on track and I know next year I will have a good line to block for me up front and it will be on me to find holes and make it happen,” Shaw said. “Our rushing game will be a big part of our offense, and if we are running the ball well it’s a good chance we are controlling the game. Next year, I plan on being a smarter runner than when I was younger and not try to do too much.”
At one time, 1,000-yard running seasons were the norm for Boyd football as the program produced a 1,000-yard rusher each of its first 10 years of existence. Despite not starting at running back for an entire season in any of his three previous years with the Broncos, Shaw has run for 1,228 yards and 13 touchdowns while producing six 100-yard rushing games in his career.
Put down McBride as one of the many impressed with Shaw’s talents, who after watching the rusher constantly flash while watching tape, wanted him only to play running back. Now with spring practice in full effect, McBride is still impressed by what he’s seeing this spring from the current face of his program.
“The thing that has stood out to me the most is his explosiveness and that he consistently hits a crease hard and gets to the next level and has a chance to go to the house when he does that,” McBride said. “Some kids get to the secondary and get a good gain, but they get caught and tackled. But Ja’Tyler has that home-run speed where he can take an average gain and go the distance to go with the ability to take a hit and still go the distance.”
Shaw gave Boyd fans an appetizer of what to expect this year in the final game of the 2018 season against crosstown rival McKinney. While exclusively playing at running back, Shaw rushed for a game-high 184 yards and two touchdowns in a Broncos loss.
Although excited about the big game individually and wanting to put up lots of yards and touchdowns in 2019, it’s the fact the Broncos are 9-21 in his career at Boyd and the loss to McKinney that really motivate Shaw – because at the end of the day, Shaw’s ultimate goal is to lead Boyd back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015, not to break program rushing records.
“I’m motivated to show people what I can do while leading my team to victories as well because we will all have big chips on our shoulders next season because nobody is expecting much from us next year,” Shaw said. “Next season, my goal is simply to grow as a player and a person while representing Boyd at a very high level, along with finding a way to lead my team into the playoffs and beating McKinney because we have to beat them after last season.”