Transfer Josh Shaw awaits Trojan debut
LOS ANGELES - Josh Shaw is still, by and large, the new guy around the USC campus.
Once fall camp rolls around, he'll actually have more in common with the incoming freshmen than the Trojans returners.
He's yet to come down the tunnel at the Coliseum, with the peristyle entrance in view, to the roar of 90,000-plus fans. He hasn't gone through an official practice with his new teammates. The fact he doesn't know what it's like to put on a USC helmet has him a little amped up.
"I'm very excited," Shaw said. "I didn't get to play a down in spring so coming into camp, to be honest with you, I'm probably the most excited guy out here because I haven't got to put an 'SC helmet on yet."
After transferring from Florida last winter, Shaw missed all of spring practice with the Trojans because of a rib injury.
Adding insult to injury was the three-month waiting game he endured waiting for the NCAA to approve his hardship waiver.
Shaw, a Palmdale native, had to return home to help his family's efforts to take care of his ailing grandfather, who is suffering from a form of lung disease, as well as helping his father, who had knee replacement surgery, with the family landscaping business.
With all that was going on at home, Shaw's USC teammates have made his transition from Gator to Trojan seamless.
"It's a smooth transition," Shaw said. "The team just welcomed me in with open arms. I couldn't ask for much more."
On the field, Shaw provides more depth to one of the Trojans' biggest strengths: the defensive backfield. He'll have a chance to prove himself at strong safety, cornerback and nickel back for the Trojans, who are considered by many to be a premiere contender for the BCS championship.
During the spring Shaw observed from the sidelines as his new teammates went through drills and scrimmages. He always carried with him a sheet of paper to help analyze and dissect what was going on.
He says he's picked up the defensive schemes rather smoothly noting that they are similar to what he did at Florida.
If there were any issues along the way, Shaw knew he could count on the leader of "The Darkside" to help him through — captain T.J. McDonald.
McDonald has taken Shaw under his wing and assisted him with the Trojans playbook. Once he set foot on the USC campus, Shaw knew he wanted to be under the tutelage of McDonald and it didn't take much to come to that decision.
"You got to look at yourself as a player and see where you want to be," Shaw said. "In a guy like T.J., you have a first round pick here so why not use him?"