GLEN ROSE — Halfway through the second day of his recent three-day recruiting visit to McNeese State, Glen Rose senior Hayden Shaw knew it was the place for him.
“After meeting with the McNeese coaches in Glen Rose, I met with some of the players from McNeese during my official visit and I felt very welcomed and that I would become a great fit for their program,” the 6-foot-3, 285-pound offensive tackle said. “The location isn't too far from home, and the facilities there are nice.”
On Sunday, Shaw, the District 4-4A Lineman of the Year, verbally committed to play for the Cowboys, fulfilling the lifelong dream to play college football.
“I started playing Pee-Wee football in second grade, and I have always loved watching the Dallas Cowboys with my family. Football is a huge part of my life, and I am glad to have the opportunity to continue playing,” he said. “During my junior year, several of my coaches starting talking to me about playing in college. I began to watch more high school players transition to the next level and thought I could compete at that level as well if I continued to work hard.”
Shaw was a three-year starter for the Tigers on the offensive line, and he can say he blocked for the first 2,000-yard rusher in Glen Rose football history. The Tigers finished with 7,581 yards total offense this season in going 12-2 and advancing to the state quarterfinals for only the second time in school history.
“He started for us as a sophomore and just continued to get better and better,” Glen Rose football coach Cliff Watkins said. “There was a lot progress you could see from him from a sophomore to a senior. He was a dominant player up front for us and an anchor for our offensive line.”
Over the last several months, Shaw had received offers from Henderson State, Georgetown, Truman State, Pittsburg State, West Texas A&M and UT Permian Basin before he finally settled on Football Championship Subdivision McNeese State located in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
“The offense at McNeese is almost identical to what we ran in Glen Rose, so that was also a consideration as the learning curve will be a little easier than an entirely new system,” he said. “Also, the students and community support the school in every way. Football attendance is one of the best in the Southland Conference.”
Last year, the Cowboys finished 6-5 overall and 5-4 in conference play to finish in the middle of the pack.
Shaw will officially sign Feb. 6, the first day of the National Letter of Intent signing day. He plans to get a marketing degree and eventually work in sports marketing.