PA DT Names A Leader

Spring Grove Pennsylvania DT John Shaw names his top 4 teams. One team holds the early lead. Is it the Nittany Lions? Is he close to a verbal commitment?

Name: John Shaw
Position: DT, OT
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 275 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.9
Bench Press: 375 pounds
School: Spring Grove Area SHS, Spring Grove, PA

When a national pre-season Top 100 players list was unveiled earlier this spring, a name unfamiliar to many in Pennsylvania recruiting circles graced the list.  That mystery man is none other than Spring Grove (Area HS) defensive tackle, John Shaw.  How does one seemingly transform themselves from an unknown high school student into a Blue-chip All-American (without even the assistance of a radioactive spider)?  The answer-- Dedication.  Shaw has worked tremendously this off-season to mold himself into a high level, Division I caliber player.  Last season, he played at around 235 pounds.  Since December, John has worked to pack on an additional 40+ pounds onto his frame, taking him to his current 275 pounds, as well as improving upon his strength and quickness.

According to John, "My coach has been helping me out. He put me on a weight lifting program with squats and the bench press and I'm eating the right foods, eating a lot of protein."
His recent growth has not adversely effected his athleticsm.  "I sent out [on video] about 25 plays from my junior season and me and my dad went to the YMCA and took shots of me dunking a basketball and bench pressing 225 as many times as I could get it (16 times)."  His current max bench is 375 lbs, while he can lift 225lbs., 19 times.  He has also been timed at 4.87 in the forty.

With all that hard work, people, especially coach colleges, have taken notice of John.  The 2nd Team All-County selection "had about 10 or 12 coaches," visit during the May Evaluation period.

According to John, "I have scholarship offers from Miami, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Syracuse, Colorado, Pittsburgh, Akron, Toledo, UConn, Rice and West Virginia."  Included in that pile is a hand-written letter from Penn State's Joe Paterno.

While colleges from all over have come to visit Spring Grove, John has also gone to see what differing universities have to offer him.  "I went to Syracuse's junior day. I've also been to Penn State, West Virginia and Virginia Tech.  I might go check out Miami and Notre Dame this month. Those will probably be my last 2 visits." 

John particularly enjoyed his spring visit to State College with his father during the Coaches Clinic weekend.  "I went to Penn State on Saturday, April 13, a week before the Blue-White game. We got to check out the campus, watch a practice and meet all the coaches. The campus is very awesome. The hitting was great at the practice. They ran about 120 plays which is pretty close to a spring practice record they said. That was pretty neat. Two helmets went flying, a shoe fell off of somebody. It was kind of like a game, defense against the offense. They said they ran more plays and that the hitting was harder than it would be at the Blue-White game."

The group of potential schools leading for his signature on Letter of Intent Day are "Penn State, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Miami."  But according to John, "I'd say Penn State is number one right now."  Offensive line coach, Bill Kenney, has been the man in charge of securing Shaw's signature.  "I called [PSU] as soon as they gave me a couple letters of interest."

"Penn State said they want me to play 3-technique, that would be a tackle position. Virginia Tech said they would play me either way, but they prefer defensive tackle. Miami is recruiting me for defensive tackle or defensive end. They all said that if it didn't work out there, I'd be able to play offense.  Defensive tackle is my favorite position."

This season, John believes that Spring Grove can improve upon the record from his junior year.  "We went 10-2 and made it to the District championship.  We're looking pretty solid for this year. We'll be Quad-A this year. We had a big freshman class move in this year, so it moved us up."  In order to concentrate on his senior year, John plans to make a college choice before the new school year begins.  Coaches are already lining up for the "mystery man," who epitomizes the definition of a late bloomer.

(Interview by Steve Curry)

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