It happened suddenly. In the blink of an eye Michigan went from being on the outside looking in for one of the top cornerbacks in the country to being one of the prime contenders, and it wasn't a product of their pursuit. While in Orlando (FL) at the ESPN Rise Gridiron Kings 7-on-7 a few weeks ago, Palmdale (CA) CB Joshua Shaw asked former Wolverine target Brennan Clay for the number of a contact person in Ann Arbor. Shaw wanted to make it known that he has a strong interest in the Maize & Blue. After multiple phone conversations with Michigan quarterbacks coach Rod Smith down in Florida during which that interest was reciprocated, things went to the next level when Shaw returned home.
"I think I talked to them that Monday (August 27th) and they went ahead and extended me the offer," Shaw reported. "(Smith) told me that I'm exactly what they're looking for. It is almost like a dream come true. They don't know how they didn't find me yet, but he said he sure is happy I contacted him. He just told me that there is a great need for corners right now at Michigan. He told me that it was something that I really, really need to look into. He said they need me."
Aiding Michigan's cause, as well as other schools of similar proximity, is Shaw's long standing desire to experience life outside of the Golden State.
"To be honest with you, ever since I was little and having dreams of playing college football, I always wanted to leave the State of California… just to get away," he said. "I think it will just help me mature as a young man much faster."
A few other out-of-state programs already have a leg up in race for the four-star corner's services. Their sustained pursuit over the spring and summer has afforded them the luxury of locking in one of his coveted official visits.
"I have three (official visits) planned," Shaw reported. "Those are LSU, Ohio State, and Notre Dame. That's because I'm more comfortable with the coaches and how their programs work. There are two (official visits) out in the open right now. A couple of teams are battling for those last two spots. They are Oklahoma, Tennessee, Penn State and Michigan. Probably at the beginning of my season I'll have everything set so I will know (which two will receive visits). Probably early September I'll probably try to get everything squared away."
For Michigan it securing one of those slots could be a matter of accentuating the attributes that Shaw already has a great affinity for.
"The Big House is one of them," he stated. "I always wanted to play in a big time stadium and it don't get no bigger than that. It's just a great college atmosphere and great experience. Football wise, those guys produce great people… the Charles Woodsons… those types of players. Those are the types of players that I look up to. Them coming from there and always hearing those guys say their best years they spent at Michigan… I'd like to see what that's like."
After Shaw whittles his list down to five lucky finalists the ultimate victor will be determined by how well they all meet a very specific list of criteria.
"I'm going to have to make sure that my family has seen the school first because they are just as important as I am in this," Shaw explained. "I'm big time with family support. Really my mom and dad have to get down there and see the campus and environment themselves. I just want to make sure that I have a good vibe, especially with my position coach. I want to make sure that I'm coming to a good situation as far as the team…I want the team to have a need for cornerbacks. I want something that fits me well, and with me being an early graduate I want to make sure that the team is okay with that. Some of the schools I've talked to just prefer that I do my whole high school career. I don't know why, but they want me to do that. I'm big on trying to get out early, so I want to make sure that the head coach and the coaching staff is okay with that. That's really about it."
Through careful deliberation with his family Shaw believes he will arrive at a decision during the winter holidays. From there he will pack up quickly and head off to take advantage of his recent All Star game selection before venturing off to school.
"I'm thinking about (making the decision) around Christmas Day," he said. "Then I'm going to be in the Under Armour game. They just invited me I think on Monday (July 27th) when we came back (from the ESPN Rise 7-on-7)."
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Shaw in the weeks and months to come.