This is the 44th in a series of articles counting down the most important players for Florida State in 2012. There are 13 days until FSU football, and that's how many are left on the list. That means no off days. Oh, and these are not in any specific order
A four-star prospect according to Rivals, which ranked Shaw as the No. 14 receiver prospect in the country, the No. 6 prospect overall in Florida and the No. 42 player nationally...also a four-star prospect according to Scout, which had him tabbed as the No. 28 wide receiver in the country...ESPN also ranked Shaw as No. 14 wide receiver and No. 92 prospect overall...SuperPrep Florida 115 ranked Shaw as the No. 21 prospect in Florida...checked in at No. 97 in Sporting News' Top 100 prospects...as a senior caught 46 passes for 732 yards and nine TDs, helping Dr. Phillips to an 11-1 record...caught 64 passes for 914 yards and 10 TDs as a junior...holds school record with 122 career receptions...member of Florida Super 75 selected by the Times-Union...Bill Buchalter ranked him as the No. 9 prospect in his Florida Top 100 and No. 6 wide receiver...also heavily recruited by Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Tennessee and USF...born January 15, 1992.
Career to Date:
Kenny Shaw came to Florida State in 2010 out of Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando. Shaw garnered a four-star ranking on his way to becoming the Panthers' all-time leader in receptions, but he would only see three catches for a total of 34 yards during his freshman campaign in Tallahassee.
Shaw's slight build does not lend itself well to physicality and he doesn't have the type of natural frame that is conducive to packing on muscle mass, so he hasn't gotten a whole lot bigger since his arrival at FSU. But what Shaw lacks on the scale is countered by his quick feet, precise route running and reliable hands. He does not do well against press coverage, but his aforementioned quickness makes it tougher for defensive backs to jam him off the line. Shaw gets in and out of his breaks well, and if he gets off the line untouched he's smoother in his routes than any other receiver on the roster.
As a sophomore in 2011, Shaw saw action in all 13 games and improved his production markedly. He finished fourth on the team in receiving with 418 yards and four touchdowns on 34 receptions. He showed some real toughness after he was knocked out cold in the end zone by a helmet-to-helmet-to-helmet shot from two defenders against Oklahoma and subsequently returned the following week to snag a touchdown pass in a losing effort at Clemson.
Shaw had a very good season for the Seminoles last year on an offense that had almost zero cohesion across the offensive line and an injured EJ Manuel at quarterback for much of the year. It is easy at times to underrate him due to the amount of talent and depth that Florida State possesses at wide-out, but Shaw is a very good receiver.
Rashad Greene's play-making ability, Rodney Smith's size and experience, the presence of similarly gifted targets like Christian Green, Jarred Haggins and Greg Dent, and the hype surrounding young Kelvin Benjamin are all factors that get Shaw lost in the shuffle at times. But Bud has noted correctly in the past that he would not be a No. 3 or 4 receiver at many other schools in the nation. He understands the position and plays it well. The ’Noles are just that good at wide-out.
Shaw will likely play a lot of slot for FSU in 2012, as the team has much larger targets to line up on the outside. He'll fight for playing there against Jarred Haggins and Christian Green. He should also continue to provide a consistent target for Manuel; Shaw had four or more catches in four different games last season, and although he did not make as many explosive plays as guys like Greene did, he made some big catches to move the chains. Look no further than his four-catch, 64-yard showing in the Champs Sports Bowl for evidence.
Look for Shaw to bring more consistency and reliability for FSU this season on an offense that should have improved protection from a healthier front line that it had a season ago.