Shaw's bitter-sweet Summer

The summer of 2013 is one the Shaw family will not soon forget, especially for junior high school running back Bradrick Shaw. The ultimate up came just after a devastating down during a time filled with firsts.

It was a normal summer day in Hoover, Alabama as a member of the Shaw family began cooking a meal.

One of the younger members of the group, Bradrick Shaw, was in Knoxville, Tennessee, trying to secure a scholarship offer from the University of Tennessee football staff.

After the event, the normal day became anything but.

"I was on my way home from Tennessee football camp, and my dad called me and said there was a fire," he said. "I thought he was kidding, but he was serious.

"I was kind of upset, just waiting to get home and see but I couldn't go in the house. My dog died..."

While no other members of the family were harmed, the entire apartment burned and it was deemed a total loss. The Shaws were in shock, but they not only had each other, but the entire Hoover community as well.

"The Hoover Bucs family called me for support as we stayed at a Holiday Inn Hotel, but their support helped me out a lot," said the junior running back prospect.

Shaw's feelings never quite translated to the football field for the rest of the summer, but that is just how he is according to Hoover coach Josh Niblett.

"If you talked to him, he'd never say anything about it," said the coach. "You'd never know. That's the kind of kid he is, he's that special.

"He's an unbelievable kid."

Not publicly translating, anyway. Shaw kept things inside and used it as a source of motivation from that point on.

"It was good to be at practice the next day," he said with a smile. "I just played football and tried to be around my boys, the whole football team helped me through it.

"I got a lot more serious. I was focused, I wanted to get bigger. I got up to 200 pounds at 6-1."

Niblett reports not noticing any change in demeanor despite the circumstances.

"No," when asked again. "We just reached out to them, a lot of people in this community have reached out to them. He's thankful, but he's thankful with how much he works.

"He wants to be the guy. It's something special."

After sitting behind state championship game MVP Calen Campbell, Shaw is "the" guy in the Hoover backfield. The summer months of hard work and travel paid off not only in that regard, but with his future. He earned his first scholarship offer from Mississippi State University about three weeks after the disaster.

"It's been a great experience, I always dreamed about it," said Shaw. "My dreams are coming true, but I just have to work hard through the season and play hard.

"God giving me the opportunity to come out here and compete. My family, my friends supporting me, it's the best part of all of this."

Plenty of other college coaches will be at Hoover this fall to check out the class of 2015 talent, who started his first game as a Buccaneer on Thursday as the team opened the 2013 season with a jamboree against Florence (Ala.) High. Shaw scored the first touchdown of the defending state champs' season in a victory.

"He understands the whole concept, pass-protection and has maybe some of the best hands on the team," said Niblett of his skill-set. "To be a 6-2, over 200-pound running back is special. He's a great kid, too."

Reporting that the Shaws moved into their new place last week, the teenager's time is seemingly on the horizon on several different levels. But one thing remains the same and it will carry him through the remainder of the summer and beyond.

"We stayed strong through it."

Shaw was named a top-5 offensive prospect at the July Auburn camp by Scout.com.

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