Ex-Florida Safety Josh Shaw’s Transfer to USC is a Big Win for the Kiffins


Word came out on Wednesday that ex-Florida safety Josh Shaw has officially transferred to USC to enroll in the spring semester, and is seeking to play immediately as a redshirt sophomore. Shaw’s eligibility for the 2012 football season will likely be pending a hardship waiver as the Palmdale native is returning to Southern California to be closer to his grandfather, whose health has fallen on hard times. While the Trojans are set at safety in 2012, both T.J. McDonald and Jawanza Starling are seniors, not to mention that backup Drew Mcallister only has one more year of eligibility as well, but the future has room for Shaw.

Shaw was a highly touted player out of high school, an All-American by multiple publications and a four-star recruit. He played in just 11 games for the Gators, getting his feet wet in the season opener of 2010, before an injury granted him a medical redshirt. He finally saw significant time time in 10 games this past season, recording 22 tackles.

We talked to The Bull Gator, our resident Florida Gators expert at Hail Florida Hail, and he had plenty to say about the talented safety. Read his comments and more, after the jump.


"Shaw is a difficult player to evaluate. He came to Florida with all the hype in the world as one of the nation’s top cornerbacks. For a time, it was hard to detemine where he would end up in the secondary. Injuries and roster changes made it seem like there was a spot for him at CB to play early, but he was switched to safety. The move seemed to be a good one as he played well enough in the Orange and Blue game after his first season (during which he redshirted). As fans, we had high hopes for Shaw being paired with Matt Elam to form a deadly duo on par with what we experienced with Ahmad Black and Major Wright. For whatever reason, Shaw played, but not much. He was passed on the depth chart by Josh Evans and true freshman De’Ante Saunders. Those two struggled early in the season as well, but Shaw never appeared to be able to take hold of the position. As Evans and Saunders improved over the second half of the season, Shaw was a lost man. Whether it was practice performance that limited his playing time, we really don’t know, but he never became the first choice at the position. Most fans will probably tell you his transfer isn’t a loss to the Gators and that the Trojans are getting someone that hasn’t lived up to his potential. I won’t go that route though. Shaw was with Florida for two seasons; during the first he redshirted and during the second he struggled to find his footing. I’m sure he would love to have those seasons back, but how many times have we seen a player take a year or two to acclimate to the college game? It happens all of the time. Not everyone can come in and be a valuable contributor immediately. The Florida years could be an indicator of what USC is getting in Shaw, or he could just be one of the thousands and thousands of college athletes that needs time to grow."

The significance of Josh Shaw’s transfer cannot be overstated. With scholarship limitations finally starting to impact the Trojans in the Class of 2012 and going forward, Lane Kiffin simply is not going to be able to have the same talent that the Trojans once had. He and his staff need to go virtually perfect on signing their targets to get back to the talent the Trojans had under Pete Carroll, with the Class of 2005 is now nothing but a distant memory.

Shaw, along with incoming JuCo transfer Gerald Bowman, gives the Trojans a bright, experienced future in the secondary. After the departures of Kevin Ellison in the 2009 NFL Draft, and Taylor Mays in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Trojans were saddled with a learning curve in the secondary. Starling struggled as a sophomore starter in 2010, as did the entire unit, finishing near the bottom of plenty of pass defense statistics. With Shaw and Bowman, that learning curve isn’t there. McDonald and Starling move on, and are immediately replaced by players with college experience under their belt and and those who are perfect for Monte Kiffin’s Tampa-2 defensive scheme.

That’s Recruiting 101, when you’re dealt a bad hand or are having trouble getting talent: play it safe and go after JuCos and transfers. We’ve seen it time and time again with Cal and Oregon State, and now that the Trojans are saddled with scholarship restrictions, it only makes sense to look down every avenue available.

Shaw’s official transfer announcement comes on the same day that linebacker Scott Starr is cleared for team training, and according to ESPN, Shaw has to be enrolled by January 27th to be eligible for spring camp. Camp at USC is slated to begin on March 6 and ends on April 14th with the team’s annual spring game at the Coliseum.