Bryson Shaw, 17, connected with Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, a former Baltimore Ravens safety and 10-year NFL veteran.
“We used to be big Jim Leonhard fans,” Bryn Shaw said. “They have been talking and they built a relationship. It was a pretty close one. He felt the coaches were very sincere and down to earth. He had a bond with them. Bryson just felt it would be the place for him.”
Wisconsin’s mystique also appealed to the younger Shaw.
The Badgers have played in the Cotton, Orange, and Rose bowls in recent years.
They beat Miami 34-24 in the Orange Bowl in late December and finished ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press college football poll.
“My dream growing up has always been to play big-time college football,” said Shaw, a two-time Independent Athletic Conference first-team selection at safety who led the Bulldogs with five interceptions this past fall.
“Wisconsin is in the Big Ten and the atmosphere that they have. That’s about as big time football as you can get. All that really caught my attention.”
So did the fact that 2016 Bullis graduate Pat Johnson plays for Wisconsin. Johnson and Bryson happen to play the same position.
“It will definitely will make the transition easier,” Shaw said. “I can go to him right away if I have questions. I will be learning with him and from him.”
Bullis football coach Pat Cilento says he wouldn’t be surprised if Wisconsin uses Shaw on kickoff and punt returns, or even employ him on special team’s coverage units early on during his career.
Shaw returned two kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns this past fall fo Bullis, which went 8-2.
“I think he will go in right away and contribute on special teams,” Cilento explained. “He is just so fast, you can’t keep him off the field. He is one of the fastest players I have ever coached in 10 years.”
Even though Shaw has a new sport to play in college, he will still play lacrosse for two more seasons at Bullis after totaling 29 goals and 13 assists for the 18-2 Bulldogs as a sophomore.
“He got offers to play two sports at four different schools,” said Bryn Shaw, noting Virginia, North Carolina, Syracuse, and Maryland as suitors. “I didn’t want to see that lacrosse thing end. He is the No. 1-ranked middie in the country.”