Steve Sarkisian hopeful Josh Shaw can return to USC


It’s been two months since Josh Shaw was suspended indefinitely from USC after fabricating a story about how he sprained both of his ankles in an incident that required investigation from the LAPD.

Finally, there’s new news on the Shaw front, as Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian told reporters during Sunday night conference call he is ‘hopeful’ that the senior cornerback will play this season. Sarkisian told Ryan Abraham and others that they are ‘in a process’.

That’s interesting news for USC, given how late in the season it is. The Trojans only have three regular season games remaining, though they have a bye week upcoming before a Thursday night game vs. California next week.

If there was any sort of time to bring Shaw back, this would presumably be the last opportunity.

That said, it’s curious as to why it’s taken this long. The legal matters at hand have been eerily silent, and there were reports last month that players were open to his return to the team.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Though if permitted, it would have been a public relations nightmare for USC to bring back Shaw immediately following poor play during the middle of the season.

The circumstance of there being a domestic violence investigation had to have made things difficult given the hot button topic that DV has been this fall.

Without Shaw, the Trojans have been a mixed bag defensively, when it comes to defending the pass.

Through four games, USC did not surrender a touchdown through the air. Then defensive breakdowns against Arizona State and Arizona nearly cost Troy a pair of losses, and allowed the Sun Devils to win on a Hail Mary.

USC is currently 9th in the Pac-12 in pass defense during conference play, allowing 307 yards per game. However, their 122.7 opponent passer rating is good for third in the conference.

The Trojans have gotten much improved play from Kevon Seymour and Adoree’ Jackson at cornerback as season has gone along, and Chris Hawkins has benefited from his new-found role in the rotation.

Should Shaw return, he would be the most experienced body in the Trojans’ secondary and add much needed depth. Safety Gerald Bowman has had missed time due to injury of late, and safety turned linebacker Su’a Cravens suffered a sprained knee against Washington State.

As a fifth-year senior, Shaw only has the remainder of the season to be eligible.

He would have to apply to the NCAA for a sixth season if he wanted to play in 2015. Shaw suffered a knee injury as a true freshman in 2010 at Florida that forced him to redshirt, and likely would lose that appeal. Plus, he’s an NFL-caliber defensive back that is likely best suited to enter next year’s NFL Draft.

Now we’ll have to wait and see how close Shaw actually is to returning. The Golden Bears come to the Coliseum in 11 days.

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