NCAA clears way for Shaw to join USC

Published Apr. 12, 2012 8:33 p.m. ET

LOS ANGELES - USC defensive back Josh Shaw sent in his request to the NCAA for a hardship waiver in January after transferring from Florida.

The last three and a half months must have seemed like an eternity. It's been a waiting game.

While playing that game, he didn't even have the luxury of practicing with his new teammates because of a rib injury that has kept him out of spring practices.

On Thursday, the wait was over. Shaw heard back from the NCAA.

"(My case) has gotten approved," said Shaw as he addressed the media following the Trojans' practice Thursday.

"It's like the happiest day of my life right here," said Shaw, who is a redshirt sophomore. "We were optimistic the whole time, but because it took so long, (we were thinking) 'Why is it taking so long?' I'm just happy that it's gotten approved and I'll be able to play this year."

Shaw was a 2009 Parade All-American at Palmdale High School where he played cornerback, quarterback, running back and wide receiver as a senior. Coming out of high school in 2010, he was the seventh-rated cornerback in the nation, according to Current Trojans corner Nickell Robey was 18th-rated in that same class.

Shaw elected to go to Florida. He missed the Gators' final three games of last season when he returned home to help his family care for his ailing grandfather.

In late November he was granted his release from Florida.

Former USC running back Amir Carlisle transferred to Notre Dame and was granted a waiver by the NCAA to be able to play next season after his father accepted a job at Purdue and the family relocated to Indiana.

Despite Carlisle's ruling, USC head coach Lane Kiffin wouldn't allow himself to think the NCAA would automatically do the same for Shaw.

"I don't know how they figure out," Kiffin said. "Some (cases) that I think are going to work don't, and some that I don't think are going to work do. So, I don't think I (would have been) surprised either way."

Now Shaw will use this summer to focus on getting ready for the season. Before he enrolled at USC, he was told the Trojans have an immediate need in the secondary. Now he'll compete for playing time once fall camp rolls around.

"(I want to) come out here and contribute to the team however I can," Shaw said. "Of course, my goal is to be a starter here for the Trojans."

Kiffin says he's not sure if Shaw will play cornerback or safety, but does believe he can be an immediate contributor.

"Sure he could," Kiffin said. "As someone that has already played down in the SEC, played for (Florida) and has all of the right tools. We've seen him run around and move around before he got hurt, so it will be great. Not just on defense, but obviously special teams."


Thursday marked the final practice of the spring for USC before Saturday's Spring Game. The Trojans didn't wear pads in practice Thursday. They will be in pads on Saturday, but will not tackle according to head coach Lane Kiffin … When asked if QB Matt Barkley will play in Saturday's Spring Game, Kiffin said, "Because it's no contact, Matt will probably play a little bit." The Spring Game is at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Coliseum.