Introducing the 2005 Class: Derek Shaw

The seeds of ASU's recruiting were planted early in quarterback Derek Shaw. They may have taken longer than expected to come to fruition, but you won't see anybody in ASU's camp complaining. In this exclusive DevilsDigest interview, the crown jewel of the 2005 recruiting class talks about his unexpected journey to becoming a Sun Devil.

Derek Shaw, who was named PrepStar's #1 quarterback in the nation, recalled his early recruiting experiences with ASU last spring. "I met coach Mark Helfrich," he said "The minute I met him I could tell he was down to earth and a real genuine person. We both have a sense of humor and we got along great. Before I committed to Miami, I went on an unofficial visit to ASU. I came there later than I thought I would, so the coaches weren't there. But I was very impressed with the facilities and the area. I drove to ASU from Tucson, and I didn't like Tucson at all. I just like how everything in Tempe is so close together, and I just felt very comfortable."

The San Diego high school player of the year, stated that Arizona was the first school to offer, but also that ASU and the rest of the Pac-10 followed suit shortly after. "Miami and all the Florida schools offered me, as well as South Carolina. Texas Tech probably recruited me the hardest."

The University of Miami was another unofficial trip destination for Shaw, and with his ensuing commitment to the Hurricanes it obviously made a memorable impression. "I haven't been much out of California, and I go to Florida and it's like a different country," he commented. "I guess I just got starry eyed. Miami is a beautiful city. I just didn't see past that. The coaches were nice, and Miami is a big time program. I went to two practices and I felt like I could compete with the quarterbacks they had."

Miami, nor did any of the other schools recruiting Shaw, ever put any pressure on the signal caller to make an early decision. Thus, why did he decide to make a verbal commitment before his senior season ever started? "A lot of the quarterbacks were committing," he said. "I was thinking of committing to Oregon State. I was friends with Sean Canfield, and Oregon State was his only offer besides UTEP. When he committed there, it kind of canceled me out. Everyone else was committing to schools and that left me with less options, and I wanted to get this recruiting stuff out of the way. I wanted to focus on my team, and didn't want my team to think I was self-centered. So I just committed to Miami and got it out of the way."

Without the rigors of the recruiting pressure behind him, Shaw went on the have a stellar senior season at Oceanside high school. He completed 139 of 255 passes for 2803 yds, 30 TDs (11 in three playoff games) and registered only 12 picks, during a 13-0 season. When his senior campaign concluded, he had time to evaluate his summer decision "After the season, I accomplished everything I set out to accomplish," he said. "We were undefeated and won the C.I.F championship. This is when I had time to think about my commitment. I went to the CaliFlorida bowl in Florida, and I thought about it there too. When I came back to my family we just came to the conclusion that it was too far away."

"It's really far away," Shaw continued. "It may be nice right now, but when I get out there it may get real old. I'm gonna be so far away from my family, and if something happened to them being across the country isn't too good."

The quarterback once made the statement that ASU was never lower than second favorite on his list. Thus, it was only natural that once he decommitted from Miami, that the Sun Devils would be one of his first calls. Shaw talked about some of the factors that attracted him to the maroon and gold. "We broke down my high school system and compared it to ASU's system and a lot of the reads are the same." he said. "I know this offense can fit me real well. I learn well with certain types of people and the ASU coaches are awesome. If you cram it down my throat, I don't learn as well. But I know that ASU will be patient, break it down, and have some fun with it."

Any football novice who watches ASU games, would tend to agree that the offense is a very explosive one. However, Shaw claimed that there's much more beyond that fact that made the Sun Devils an attractive program to go to "A lot of the quarterbacks that have huge numbers in programs like Hawaii and Texas Tech throw the ball all the time," he commented, "but they don't get drafted in the first round because they don't run a pro-style offense. Andrew Walter is going in the first round and I play a lot like he does – that's what the coaches say."

In light of that statement, what are some of the other attributes Shaw posses? "I'm the type of quarterback that will fight to the very end," he replied. "I'll do anything it takes to win. I'm a hard worker and a leader. I'm 215 now, but I've been working out and I'll be 225 by the time I get there. I have a strong arm and a quick delivery. I can get faster and stronger. I can always work on something. If someone says that they don't have to work on anything, they won't get better. Most of all I want to work on my speed. I'm a pocket passer and I can make people miss, but I'm not a run-first guy. But if the pocket breaks down, I want to have enough speed to get out of there. I know what it takes to succeed because of my grandfather."

Shaw's Grandfather Dick Enright, was the former head football coach at Oregon from 1972-73, and also served as the San Francisco 49ers Offensive Line coach in 1976. Needless to say that this football pedigree impacted grandson Derek quite a bit. "He was a huge influence on me," Shaw commented. "He thought me everything I know about football. When I grew up he was coaching high school football in Orange County. I was the water boy, and I looked at all those big players and I wondered if I'd ever be that big. I really wanted to be a football player. I just idolized my grandpa and went to all of his practices. I've been around a lot of players and that has helped me a lot as a football player."

While PrepStar magazine rated Shaw as the best signal caller in the country, Scout.com and other recruiting services listed him between 10 and 15th best in the nation. Some may use that as a motivator, but the Oceanside player of the year has a different point view on this. "I don't pay attention to that and I don't think it means anything," he claimed. "Sometimes there's a lot of politics in these rankings. All that matters is what you do in college. It's a motivator that I'm ranked up there with some of the best quarterbacks around. But it's like I was going to play harder than I would anyway, if I was ranked higher or lower. It's no big deal and it's just cool to have a scholarship."

Shaw carries a 2.7 GPA, and plans to take the SAT again this year. He intends on coming to Tempe in June and participating not only in the team's off-season conditioning program, but also in ASU's bridge program. Cutting summer vacation short in favor of his college career, is quite fine with him. "It would be nice to have some more time," he stated, "but I'm looking forward to it. I'm actually going to Hawaii with some friends before I go to ASU, so that will be my vacation. I'm real excited to get involved in college." Shaw added that he plans to major in Financial Management or Psychology.

Not many members of ASU's 2005 class can claim that they're coming in as champions on the high school level, let alone champions of a major conference such as CIF San Diego. Not only does Shaw feel proud about his accomplishment, but he also believes that it will pay future dividends for him personally, as well as for ASU.



"To be a good quarterback you have to be a winner," he stated. "I'm a winner, and I know what it takes to win and I'll do anything I can to win. That's some of the things I will bring to ASU." That attitude was apparently infectious, because during his official visit he convinced fellow visitors Chris McGaha and Brandon Smith to follow him and become Sun Devils. "I knew I was committing here, so I wanted some receivers," he said with a smile. "They were real cool guys, and I told them how much we should work together because we'll have a lot of fun. I told them to come to Arizona State and win a national championship." And if it does happen, remember which member of the maroon and gold said it first…

Recruit Profile

Name

Derek Shaw

High School Oceanside (Oceanside, Calif.)

Position

QB

Height

6-3

Weight

215

Date of Birth

5/30/86

Birthplace

Arlington, Texas.

Nickname

"Rocket Arm"

Favorite TV Show

"The Simpsons and The Dave Chapelle Show"

Favorite Movie

"Scarface"

Favorite Singer/Band

"Metallica, Led Zeppelin…just all those old rock bands."

Favorite Food

"Sushi"

Favorite Drink

"Orange Juice"

Favorite Athlete

"Bill Romanowski "

Favorite Pro Team

"Dallas Cowboys"

Person you most admire

"My grandfather. He's real wise and he has seen a lot of stuff. I really cherish everything he says. He has helped me a lot in life."

First Football Memory

"I was a goalie in Soccer and I got bored one game. There was guy cherry picking, just standing there right in front of my goal. I was bored, and my grandfather was filming, so I just picked him up and tackled him. Right after that my grandfather put me in football (smile)."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I'm interested in a lot of other things other than football. I like computers and other stuff; I'm not just all about football. I'm very open-minded and try a lot of different things."

Why did you choose ASU?

"I felt the most comfortable there."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"An NFL quarterback. If that doesn't work just have a successful job and moving forward in life."

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