Sam Webb: How did your first season at Trotwood go?
Michael Shaw: “It was an up and down season. We relaxed and had a little fun. I played with a lot of kids that I grew up with… that I played with in peewee. It was crazy because at my old school, nobody had offers. We didn’t hardly see any schools come through. I get to Trotwood and there was a different coach every day.”
Sam Webb: So it was like night and day then?
Michael Shaw: “Yeah.”
Sam Webb: Take me back to when you were considering Michigan the first time. What was it about Michigan the first time around that made you say, “No, it is not really for me.”
Michael Shaw: “I didn’t see myself in that system. I kind of went back and forth about it. I was always a Michigan and Penn State fan. Penn State was my dream school, and going back and forth with it, I felt that Penn State would be the best place for me. If I was to go to Michigan, I felt I would play on the defensive side of the ball.”
Sam Webb: So they were telling you that you were definitely going to be a defensive back?
Michael Shaw: “I would come in as an athlete and depending on my physical form, how I came in and performed would play into where I ended up. How successful the other running backs were would play into that too.”
Sam Webb: So tell me how things came about when the new staff came in? How did they go about recruiting you and getting you to come on a visit?
Michael Shaw: “Initially they were recruiting me at West Virginia and I kind of just shrugged them off. Not really shrugged them off, but I thought they were loaded at running back and I always wanted to play in the Big Ten. Not only that, but I went to Penn State and had a blast at Penn State at my unofficial earlier. I just thought that Penn State would be the place for me. But when they made the jump to Michigan and with Mike Hart leaving I thought maybe it would be a good thing for me in that I come from a spread offense and I like the way the offense is ran. Plus seeing how with the backs that they had, anybody could come in and get an opportunity to play… I kind of looked into it and said maybe this might be a good thing.”
Sam Webb: So you go to Michigan on your second visit. Take me through everything that they had you do and your impressions coming out of it?
Michael Shaw: “It was totally different from the first time. One thing that really impressed me was how the coaches and everything were just down to earth. You wouldn’t think they were coaches. They were just every day people. Coach Rod with his West Virginia background, he is kind of a blue collar hard working guy and he reminds me a lot of my dad. When I just met him them on campus, I was welcomed with open arms even though I liked Penn State. They just wanted to show me what they had to offer and it went from there.”
Sam Webb: What did specifically did they say to you in about the position you’d play and how you would fit into the offense?
Michael Shaw: “They said they see me as how they played Steve Slaton and Noel Devine, being in the backfield moving out to slot. It was the versatility in my feet… just get me into open space… and I really like that idea. One thing Coach Jackson told me is that I won't have as much mileage coming out (of college). If I was to have good career where I could go pro I wouldn’t have to worry about guys were looking at me like, ‘well he had a good career, but how long can he last because he has taken so much of a pounding in Big Ten football.’ In the spread offense, I won't have to take as many hits and have to go against linebackers twice my size. I can use my speed to the outside and do some things that fit me and my play style.”
Sam Webb: Talking with Coach Doug, he was saying to me the whole time, “man, academics are going to be huge.” What did you find out about the academics about Michigan while you were on campus?
Michael Shaw: “Well that is another reason why I wasn’t really pursuing Michigan in the first place. Me and my dad went to Michigan and we really didn’t understand how they have it set up academically. When we came back for my official, we brought my mom this time and my mom had a lot of questions. All of her questions were answered. One of the things I like about the business program, which I want to go into is, I can take classes in the summer and knock out some credits. I can take some classes at college right now, so by the time I get to school, I only have to focus on two classes while I am at Michigan during the football season. That takes off a lot of load and I like the way the director has it set up. You just major in business and you set your classes what category in business that you want to go into. That impressed a lot.”
Sam Webb: Did you know on your visit that Michigan is where you wanted to go or did you go home and have to think about it?
Michael Shaw: “I came home from Michigan and me and my parents talked about it. I was confused… real confused. I was still committed to Penn State, but after thinking about it, maybe Michigan is the place for me. But I am committed to Penn State and I want to stay loyal to my commit. So I kind of think of that, it was just an official visit and I had a good time, but I don’t really know if that is going to be where I go.”
Sam Webb: You said earlier that Penn State was your dream school. What was it about Michigan in the final analysis that made you say switch things up. Did you like you Michigan growing up too?
Michael Shaw: “It was not so much that I liked Michigan, it is just that I didn’t like Ohio State. I liked Ohio State for basketball, but I like Penn State in football. I started liking Michigan around the time Charles Woodson, Anthony Thomas and those guys. It was kind of tough, but talking it over with my parents and looking at how impressed we were with Coach Jackson, Coach Magee, Coach Rod…Coach Rod came to my house and the rest of the offensive staff, but Coach Rod could only come once. The rest of the offense staff that came to my house. They called me and checked on me. They didn’t just see me as a football player. Sometimes Coach Magee or Coach Jackson would just call and see how my day went… how I was doing. Knowing that Coach Jackson and Coach Magee are going to be my coaches, it was big. These are two guys I can play for. I could go to them about anything and they just look at me as more than just a player. They are also going to be like my father figures for the next four years. My dad is going to be 3 1/2 hours away in Ohio, so those guys made me feel real comfortable.”
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for part two of our interview with Shaw in
which the youngster describes the mentally torturous hours leading up to his