You get a two-fer on this one simply because of the buzz surrounding two kids who have never played a snap of college football. Sam McGuffie was easily Michigan’s highest profile recruit in the 2008 class. Lightning quick with break away speed we haven’t seen since Tyrone Wheatly or Tim Biakabatuka. Then there is Michael Shaw. Shaw was the center of a recruiting war between Penn State and Michigan. Shaw committed to Penn State only to change his mind at the last second and choose Michigan. Accusations of snake oil, recruiting tampering, responsibility for the Kennedy Assassination, etc… all followed. As it turns out there were good reasons for both the hype and the bad blood.
Shaw and McGuffie have stood out in Michigan’s practices since day one. Shaw not only possesses speed that had many of us slotting him at receiver, but a mean streak that has him plowing over anyone dumb enough to get in his way. McGuffie’s fall has lived up to his hype. After vaulting over a 6’6" lineman his first day of fall practice, McGuffie’s been electric. In what can be gleaned from Coaching statements and players’ controlled sound bites, no one thought McGuffied be as fast as he is. Within a week and a half Rich Rod was announcing neither McGuffie nor Shaw would redshirt. Why is that surprising. One they’re both freshman. Two, they both look like they could use a little time in the weight room. Three, there are two pretty good tailbacks ahead of them in Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown. And if Kevin Grady ever gets his head back on straight, him too.
But there they are. Garnering headlines as freshmen before a snap is even taken. More importantly, they are being mentioned in the same sentence. Linked together as a tandem both in the backfield and in print. Their careers at Michigan will be intertwined because of the hype the followed them, the expectations on their shoulders, and the way, at least at the time of this entry, they lived up to them.
The McGuffie/Shaw tailback tandem is just another of our 15 Michigan Football Players to Get Excited About in 2008.