Lee Shaw knows how to build a program into a state powerhouse. He’s proven it twice now at Flowery Branch (2002-11) and Rabun County (2012-Present). One of the state’s best in getting the most out of his players, Shaw enters year seven at Rabun and 22nd season overall as a head coach.
Perhaps what he does just as well is develop big-time quarterbacks. Bailey Fisher was the latest, as he left after a state title game appearance in 2017 and became one of the state’s top quarterbacks of all-time. Next up is highly-touted freshman Gunner Stockton, who enters 2018 ready to maybe – just maybe – put up even better numbers than Fisher and all the QBs before him.
THE PRODIGY QBs
It began with Shaw’s eldest son Jaybo, who currently is the Offensive Coordinator for Rabun County and played his collegiate ball at Georgia Tech and then Georgia Southern, becoming a fantastic option quarterback. He was the Flowery Branch QB from 2005-07, and was followed by Shaw’s youngest son, Connor (2008-09), who led the Falcons to a state title game in the Georgia Dome in 2008 and the semifinals in 2009, falling to region rivals and cross-town foes Gainesville in one of the best games in state history.
Connor of course went on to a spectacular college career at the University of South Carolina, becoming the school’s all-time winningest quarterback, playing under coach Steve Spurrier. He then went to the NFL, starting one game for the Cleveland Browns in 2014. He also played with the Chicago Bears, but broke a leg in the preseason when it appeared he was making a great push to start or be backup. He has since become a coach at Furman University.
After the Shaw brothers, Lee Shaw’s next projects were Flowery Branch’s Austin Brown (2010) and Kanler Coker (2011), then Wes Holcombe at Rabun (2012-13) and Bailey Fisher (2014-17). Brown played college ball for UAB, Coker at UNC and Holcombe at Western Carolina, while Fisher headed to Tennessee Tech this past winter. Worth noting, Collin Grant (2014) was also a solid QB in between Holcombe and Fisher for one season, though he plays baseball at the next level. He did tally 1,498 pass yds and 14 TD, adding 763 yds and 4 TD rushing.
What these QBs have in common are ridiculous stats, for one, college pedigrees and a coaches’ mentality when on the field. More importantly, Shaw’s QBs WIN!
- JAYBO SHAW // 2005-07
- 6,008 pass yds, 77 TD; 3,332 rush yds, 50 TD
- 30-6 RECORD (3-3 PLAYOFFS)
- CONNOR SHAW // 2008-09
- 5,300 pass yds, 52 TD; 1,741 rush yds, 28 TD
- 22-7 RECORD (7-2 PLAYOFFS)
- AUSTIN BROWN // 2010
- 2,588 pass yds, 24 TD
- 10-2 RECORD (1-1 PLAYOFFS)
- KANLER COKER // 2011
- 2,809 pass yds, 31 TD; 837 rush yds, 15 TD
- 11-2 RECORD (2-1 PLAYOFFS)
- WES HOLCOMBE // 2012-13
- 3,114 pass yds, 31 TD; 670 rush yds, 9 TD
- 14-8 RECORD (0-2 PLAYOFFS)
- COLLIN GRANT // 2014
- 1,498 pass yds, 14 TD; 763 rush yds, 4 TD
- 9-3 RECORD (1-1 PLAYOFFS)
- BAILEY FISHER // 2014-17
- 9,383 pass yds, 113 TD; 3,075 rush yds, 57 TD
- 36-4 RECORD (8-3 PLAYOFFS)
Doing simple math from these quarterbacks, that’s over 30,000 passing yards and exactly 342 passing TDs, as well as some 10,000 rushing yards (almost all were great dual-threats). That’s also 132 wins, and 22 playoff victories.
NEXT MAN UP: GUNNER STOCKTON
Not many coaches have a quick answer to replace a 36-4 starter who tallied 12,458 offensive yards and 170 touchdowns. However, Shaw, who’s been in this spot before, doesn’t hesitate when pondering the question.
“Gunner Stockton has a tremendous future ahead of him,” says Shaw. “I’ve been impressed with his work ethic, his football knowledge and his competitiveness. Gunner is another of my QBs that has the “it” factor. He’s a winner.”
Shaw’s praise of the young signal caller didn’t stop there.
“He has continued to develop his skill set under Coach Jaybo Shaw and is preparing for his debut at QB. I believe Gunner has the potential to be one of the best QBs I’ve coached in my 30-year career.”
That statement is monumental when looking at the list of successful quarterbacks, which includes both his sons Jaybo and Connor as well as Bailey Fisher.
Stockton is a freshman but comes in with loads of talent, experience and knowledge of the game. He’s currently listed by some recruiting sites as the #2 QB in the state of Georgia for the Class of 2022. He’s gifted with a 6’1, 196-lb frame, with room to grow. He has a chance to put up Bailey Fisher or even Deshaun Watson-type numbers, and is already garnering much attention from top NCAA Division-I programs across the country.
He’s racked up many accolades before playing a snap at the high school level. At a UNC camp this summer, he threw a ball 64 yards, further than any other QB at the camp. He’s won numerous 7/7 tournaments and won the Cam Newton 7v7 QB Skills Challenge. Stockton is son of Wildcats’ Defensive Coordinator, Rob Stockton, who has a tremendous IQ for the game that has been imprinted no doubt on Gunner.
The pressure isn’t necessarily on Stockton; he’s earned the attention behind spectacular play thus far in national camps and competitions, and knows how to handle it. He’ll get to start out his Rabun high school career under some bright lights at the Erk Russell Classic at Georgia Southern on Saturday, August 18 at 6 PM.
Coaches and teammates beam about Stockton every chance they get. Do yourself a favor and pay close attention these next four years, this kid is going to be something special!
NOTE: Shaw’s total record stands at 152-92, 23rd among active coaches, which includes 22 playoff wins, five region titles, three semifinal runs, two state runner-up finishes and seven quarterfinals runs among 13 playoff appearances. He has coached 18 all-state players in his 21 complete seasons.