Football: For two-sport star Shaw, 'big plays are my thing'

Bullis School athlete Bryson Shaw, an Eldersburg resident, helped the football team to an 8-2 record this fall.
Bullis School athlete Bryson Shaw, an Eldersburg resident, helped the football team to an 8-2 record this fall. (Courtesy photo)

Elite-level skills are required to attract the attention of a big-time Division I men's lacrosse program like the one at University of Maryland, the reigning national champions.

Bryson Shaw's talent was so obvious at such a young age that he verbally committed in September of 2015 to play lacrosse for the Terrapins — a full four years before he would step on campus.


Recruiting Rundown ranks Shaw, a midfielder from Eldersburg, as the No. 8 player in the country in the Class of 2019.

The Bullis School junior chose Maryland over offers from Atlantic Coast Conference powers Virginia, Notre Dame, and Syracuse.


“In lacrosse, they will make you an offer to verbally commit,” said Shaw’s father, Bryn. “If you don’t tell them 'yes' or 'no' in a certain amount of time, they will offer someone else your spot.”

Bullis School lacrosse player Bryson Shaw is an Eldersburg resident.
Bullis School lacrosse player Bryson Shaw is an Eldersburg resident. (Courtesy photo)

Lacrosse may not be the only sport the speedy 6-foot-2, 175-pound Shaw plays at Maryland.

Maryland football coach DJ Durkin is eager to convince Shaw to play football, too.

Shaw also boasts football scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Wake Forest, Rutgers and Syracuse.

“Syracuse has also offered him to play both sports,” Bryn Shaw said. “When the (Maryland) football program decided they wanted to go after him, they had to coordinate with the lacrosse program to see if they would let him play both sports. DJ Durkin told us he’s never had a lacrosse and football person ever do it.

“The only way they let you do that is if you are good enough to start as a freshman in lacrosse. That’s the case according to Coach (John) Tillman.”

Bryson Shaw said playing two sports at Maryland would be enticing, but that he won’t make a decision until after lacrosse season this spring.

“I don’t know if I will do both sports,” explained Shaw, who carries a 3.2 grade-point average and lives with a host family in Potomac. “I’m considering it. The fact that the college is telling me I can do both sports means a lot to me. But it will be hard focusing on two sports.”

It’s easy to understand why Durkin wants Shaw to play football, considering all the big plays he made for the Bulldogs, who went 8-2 this year.

Shaw, a wide receiver and safety who transferred from Mount St. Joseph after his freshman year, scored touchdowns five different ways in Bullis’ first four games.

The most impressive performance came in the Bulldogs’ 37-0 season-opening win over Archbishop Carroll on Sept. 2. Shaw returned the opening kickoff 71 yards for a touchdown, then 34 seconds later recovered a fumble and scampered 21 yards for another score.

“It was unbelievable to score two touchdowns like that,” Bullis football coach Pat Cilento said. “We are up 14-0 in the blink of an eye.”


Shaw had a 90-yard touchdown catch the following week in a rout of Fork Union, rushed for a 34-yard touchdown in a conquest of Avalon in Week 3, and returned a punt for a score the next week in a 42-41 victory over Quince Orchard.

He had 12 touchdowns overall.

“Big plays are my thing,” Shaw said. “Every time I get the ball in my hands, I want to get into the end zone. Those five touchdowns were pretty crazy. I surprised myself and I knew it was going to be a pretty good year.”

Shaw finished the season with 27 receptions for 474 yards and five touchdowns and he rushed for 213 yards and three touchdowns on 39 carries.

He also intercepted three passes and returned two of them for scores.

“His size and speed set him apart,” Cilento said. “We try to get him the ball any way we can in space. We had one team that put two guys on him on every play.”

Shaw had an outstanding 2017 season in his first year on the Bullis lacrosse team, scoring 29 goals and adding 13 assists. The former Freedom Rec player had eye-catching games.

Shaw scored three goals each in triumphs over Georgetown Prep, Good Counsel, and St. Mary’s Ryken for the 18-2 Bulldogs.

“I haven’t seen a kid with his speed, and I have been coaching lacrosse in the D.C area since 1995,” Bullis lacrosse coach Jeff Bellistri said. “He changes the way defenses have to react to him. They have to leave more space for him. He turns regular plays into fast breaks due to his speed. He is that fast and so athletic. Kids are really surprised at what angles they have to take to defend him.”

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