Safety Bryson Shaw had played for USC Football in Weeks 2 through 7, but only played a total of 19 defensive snaps. He at least played 10 special teams snaps per game, but his quad tear had prevented him from being 100% until this past week.
Shaw's services were most certainly going to be needed against Arizona, though, so it was good to see his health improving the way it was entering Week 9. He was going to be particularly needed because SC was down two of their three primary linebackers. USC was going to roll out a dime defense MUCH more often than desired when they were that short-handed in the linebacking core.
Shaw appeared to like the extra responsibility. He had an interception in the game, he had a tackle for loss, he had a PD, and he racked up seven tackles.
He was named PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Week for his step-up performance, as he not only had a great game, but had one when he was needed most when looking at all the impact players out for the Trojans. Check out some of his highlights from the contest at this link. Shaw playing like this when he finally got his health back is massive for this defense.
That's because Bryson Shaw's performance goes to show that USC Football is truly stacked at the Safety position.
USC Football already had a great safety tandem in Max Williams and Calen Bullock, and adding a player like the one Shaw was on Saturday makes for a dangerous safety group. The hard-hitting Williams has two interceptions, two PDs, and a forced fumble already this year. Bullock has two picks too (one returned for a touchdown), and three PDs.
Shaw had the chance to prove that he could add to this duo, and he took that opportunity and ran with it. Now this coaching staff knows what they have in him, but they really already did considering USC Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch was the one who (successfully) recruited him in high school to Ohio State. He clearly saw quite a bit in him, as this is his second team he's recruited him to.
Shaw wasn't placed into the easiest role on Saturday, having to help take the place of one of their best defensive players in Eric Gentry and another major rotational linebacker in Ralen Goforth. The way he had success in his first significant defensive action, in a tough position to be put in, shows that Shaw's emergence could foreshadow success down the road.