Michael Shaw Interview

After announcing his commitment to Penn State Saturday evening, Michael Shaw did a one-on-one interview with FightOnState.com. The product of Trotwood-Madison High in Trotwood, Ohio, said he was sold on the overall atmosphere of Happy Valley, which is why he picked the Nittany Lions over Michigan, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Compared in style to former Penn State great Curt Warner, Michael Shaw is the second running back to commit to the Lions for their Class of 2008. He joined fellow Ohio native Brandon Beachum, who is considered more of a bruiser.

See what Shaw had to say about Penn State, his own style, Beachum and more in this Q&A:

FOS: Do they call you Mike or Michael?

MS: It doesn't matter.

FOS: Which do you prefer?

MS: Michael is fine.

FOS: Can you tell me what went into your decision to pick Penn State?

MS: The factor that stuck out most was just the atmosphere. The players and the coaches were very welcoming. Academics were also a huge factor. They have a lot of guys who graduate in three years and then use that fourth year to get an extra degree. I'm big on academics because you can't play football forever. God forbid I get hurt or anything like that, I'll have something to fall back on. And the fans at Penn State were also a huge factor. Being that supportive and loving Penn State football that much, I would just love to be a part of that.

FOS: How relieved are you to get the decision out of the way?

MS: It's a huge load off my shoulders. I feel like it's taken 1,000 pounds off my shoulders. No more questions and people trying to get me to go one way or go the other. I just feel like I made the best decision and I'm happy.

FOS: I know there was some confusion over your visit to Penn State in June that was rescheduled. What happened there?

MS: That was definitely blown out of proportion. I had talked to Coach [Joe] Paterno and the staff about rescheduling my visit, so when the whole thing came out, I was lost. I didn't know what was going on. But we got it fixed and now I'm a Nittany Lion, so it didn't affect anything in a bad way.

FOS: What did you like about your visit to Penn State?

MS: I came away impressed with everything. The whole thing with life after football. And the coaches and the players are like a family. And being a young freshman away from home, eight hours away, it's good when you have a family away from home.

FOS: What do you think you have to work on this season in preparation for your college career?

MS: Honestly, I'd like to get better in all phases of the game. A huge reason I picked Penn State is because of the running back tradition they have there. I would like to be the guy who excels at everything. They've had backs there like Ki-Jana Carter and Larry Johnson. To live up to that, I'm going to have to improve my game to the best of my abilities. I'd like to get better at all phases.

FOS: How would you describe your style as a running back?

MS: I'd say kind of a scat back. I just like to have the ball in my hands, whether it is a pass or a run. I just like to make big plays.

FOS: What is your height and weight now?

MS: I just had my physical and I was 6-0.5 and 186.

FOS: Is that where you want to be or do you feel you have to get bigger?

MS: I lost close to 30 pounds during track season. I was down to 162. But I gained most of that back pretty fast. But Coach Paterno said by the time I get there, he would like me to be around 190 or 195.

FOS: Do you have any idea what you are going to major in at Penn State?

MS: I want to go into business — marketing and management.

FOS: Jay Paterno recruited you. What can you tell me about him?

MS: He's a funny guy. He's really down to earth. He's a good guy to be around. I was very happy to be recruited by him. He made everything a lot easier. He was really honest with my family.

FOS: They've also recruited Brandon Beachum as a running back in this class. Do you care that they took another running back?

MS: To be a running back, especially in college, you're not going to be able to make 40 carries a game. And football is a long game, 60 minutes. Also, Penn State has two seniors graduating and then one other running back. I think Beachum and I can do some good things in the backfield together.

FOS: Do you know him at all?

MS: Not really.

FOS: Can you tell me little bit about your track career?

MS: I anchored the 4X400 relay team that brought home a state championship and won a national title.

FOS: What are your goals personally and team-wise for this football season.

MS: Personally I'd just like to be a leader for the team this year. I'd like to improve off everything from last year as a football player. As far as a team, we'd like to win a state championship.

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