January 17, 2005
Arizona State thought it had Jason Forcier but lost him to Michigan. ASU thought it had Ben Olson coming its way before he took a U-turn to UCLA.
But in the end, those setbacks allowed the Sun Devils a chance to have the best possible quarterback recruit fall right into their pocket.
Just days after renouncing his verbal commitment to Miami, 6-foot-4, strong-armed Derek Shaw from Oceanside (Calif.) High School ended a weekend visit to Tempe by giving the school an oral commitment.
Shaw was rated the No. 2 quarterback in California behind USC recruit Mark Sanchez by Rivals.com. He chose the Hurricanes before a senior season in which he threw for 2,788 yards and 30 touchdowns (against 12 interceptions) while leading Oceanside to a 13-0 record and the CIF San Diego Section Division II championship.
In two years at Oceanside, Shaw threw for 4,941 yards and 51 touchdowns.
But while playing in the CaliFlorida Bowl in Miami, Fla., two weeks ago, Shaw had a change of heart — worried that his single mother wouldn't be able to afford frequent cross-country trips to see him play. “Sitting on a plane all the way back from the bowl game made me realize, or rather helped me realize, just how far away (Miami) was,'' Shaw told the North County (Calif.) Times this week. “I fell in love with the palm trees, the beaches and the national championships, but financially, it would be tough for anyone in my family to see me play much at all. That's what it boiled down to. Playing somewhere on the West Coast will be a more comfortable fit.
“ASU fits what a quarterback wants. I worried that no one would have scholarships available, but I made sure ASU still had a spot open.''
And with Sanchez at USC and Olson at UCLA, ASU was the closest top-flight school with an open scholarship — after Forcier backed out and Olson chose the Bruins.
Miami coach Larry Coker flew to San Diego last week in an attempt to change Shaw's mind, but Shaw had already set up a visit to ASU this weekend and was focused on a change.
Shaw ran a spread offense at Oceanside and should feel right at home in a similar system run by ASU coach Dirk Koetter.
Sam Keller, who backed out on his commitment to Michigan before coming to ASU in 2003, is the starter coming into the season following his 370-yard, MVP performance in a 27-23 win over Purdue in the Sun Bowl. Redshirt freshman Rudy Carpenter is expected to be the backup and graduate Chad Christensen is also returning for a fifth season for ASU, which loses Andrew Walter to graduation and Max Hall to a two-year Mormon mission.