PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Western Michigan netted a victory on the field when it hosted bitter rival Central Michigan, but the Broncos also landed a highly coveted recruiting coup this weekend as well.
Jo-El Shaw, a 3-star running back from Pennsylvania, committed to Western Michigan over the weekend. With six other Division I offers to choose from, Shaw says that the genuine element of the Broncos’ coaching staff went a long ways in earning his pledge.
“When I stayed there, coach Fleck was honest with me,” Shaw told Today’s U. “They had two running backs there, it was me and another running back. We had an official the same day. I asked him what he was trying to do if he wanted one of us, two of us and he said he’s taking the first one that commits. He told me not to commit just because he said that, though. He told me that he really wanted me to go to his school and he said if you want to play early, come here. This is the school for you.”
Standing at 6’1” and 215-pounds, early playing time is a considerable bonus in Shaw’s book, and the No. 77 running back in the country—according to 247Sports.com—raved about the connection he formed with several members of the Western Michigan team.
“I got to spend time with most of the players and we went around,” Shaw said. “They showed me campus and campus life. They had a lot of camaraderie. Everyone was having a fun time together. It seemed like it was all put together and it was all a family. They didn’t try to pressure me to commit to the school either. They made it real comfortable. Even my mom, she really liked it. We were watching the football game and the atmosphere was perfect. It was real. The fans are real excellent over there. They never gave up on their team.”
Shaw, who has racked up over 700 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns over six games for Woodland Hills, describes his playing style as that of a pro-style running back.
“I’m more of a power back, but I can beat people with my feet,” Shaw said. “I’m quick and I’m difficult to take down, so when I’m running in the open field there aren’t a lot of guys that can get to me.”
While on campus, Shaw had an opportunity to touch base with the Broncos’ staff and how they plan to utilize his talent at the next level.
“They told me usually they weren’t able to run a lot of powers and counters because of the backs they have,” Shaw said. “But they said I am a power back and the liked that downhill runners. They are more likely to use me like that.”
During the recruiting process, Shaw says that he was lucky to identify a few schools that really appealed to him. Shaw broke down how he came to this point and shared his thoughts on the second and third place finishers.
“I just so happened to find a couple schools that I am really interested in and that I trusted taking care of me,” Shaw said. “Then coach Fleck, he sealed the deal for me.
“Temple was and UMass… I like both schools because the coaches had been talking to me for a long time, even before the offer came in they were always on me. They always checked up on me and always asked about me, but not even just about football. It was about my life. The showed that they care, but at the end of the day when I Came up to Western Michigan—I’ve been on a couple visits to a couple programs—and the football atmosphere was great and the fans were real good. Everybody likes coach Fleck and the football players, they are like a real family.”
Despite his commitment to Western Michigan, Shaw says that he is still keeping his recruiting process open and plans to take additional official visits, likely to Temple. With a big season in the works, Shaw may see interest from even larger programs, so his recruitment may very well extend until National Signing Day.