Though he plays safety, Josh Shaw ’14 hasn’t always played it safe. The Trojan defensive back, who graduates tomorrow from USC Dornsife with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, shared his story with fellow student-athletes and their families at the USC Athletic Department graduation ceremony May 15.
“Life doesn’t always work out the way you plan,” he told the 1,000 fellow athletes and their families gathered at the Galen Center ceremony.
It certainly didn’t for Shaw.
The Los Angeles native started his college football career at University of Florida. But two years in, he got a call from home that changed everything. His grandfather had fallen seriously ill and his father—whom everyone calls “Superman”—needed surgery that would leave him with a six month recovery period.
Although it was never easy, I was able to experience so much joy within my soul.
Against his family’s wishes, Shaw left Gainesville, transferring to USC so he could continue his “dreams of receiving a great education and playing football” while also looking after his family. “I didn’t mind going to class, workouts or practice and then making the hour commute from Los Angeles to Palmdale to handle my father’s landscaping business,” he told his fellow scholar-athletes at Thursday’s ceremony. “Although it was never easy, I was able to experience so much joy within my soul, because finally I could give back to my parents who have always given me so much.”
Shaw, who had 67 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions last season, opted to skip the 2014 NFL draft. He returns to USC next fall for his last year of NCAA eligibility. In the meantime he’s working for CBRE, a commercial real estate firm in downtown L.A.