USC cornerback Josh Shaw met with Ravens, vows to tell teams the truth about incident

USC safety Josh Shaw pumps up the crowd during a 2013 game against Utah.
USC safety Josh Shaw pumps up the crowd during a 2013 game against Utah. (Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY Sports)

A series of lies cost Southern California cornerback Josh Shaw dearly this past season, damaging his reputation and raising significant questions about his character.

A senior captain for the Trojans, Shaw lied to his coaches in August about the cause of a pair of high-ankle sprains. He concocted an elaborate story about how he had jumped off a terrace to save a drowning nephew in a swimming pool.


Shaw stuck to his story for days and was hailed as a hero, until the truth was discovered. USC athletic department officials learned that Shaw had panicked about potentially being arrested after an argument with his girlfriend and had jumped from a balcony wearing flip-flops.

Shaw was no hero. USC suspended him, and he played in just three games as a senior.


Healthy again, Shaw vowed to be transparent with NFL teams this week at the Senior Bowl all-star game. He's regarded as an intriguing NFL draft prospect: a 6-foot, 198-pound cornerback-safety, albeit one with major baggage.

Shaw has been honest with teams with which he's met, including the Ravens. Shaw said he had a positive talk with the Ravens, who are scrutinizing the defensive back class after a season in which they had five cornerbacks go on injured reserve, including top cornerback Jimmy Smith.

"I just tell them the truth about what happened," Shaw said. "They understand that it's over with. The main thing for them is just to see me be very forthcoming and transparent with them."

Shaw also played in the East-West Shrine Game and met with several teams there about the incident.

"I think I'm knocking some of [the doubt] out right now," Shaw said. "Every team is different, but I do think, at the end of the day, they realize it's put behind me now. Of course, each organization has already gone back to L.A. and Palmdale, my hometown, and done their homework on me, so they know what type of guy I am. I don't point no fingers here. Everything that happened in the past was solely because of me, and I think they respect that."

Shaw got his family involved in the cover-up, including his brother and sister. That's one of his biggest regrets, and he's expressed that remorse to teams.

"Of course, it’s definitely going to come up," Shaw siad. "They want to hear it from me and they already know the answers to all the questions, so they just want to look me in the eyes and me to look them in the eyes and tell them the truth.

"I just show them and express to them that I take full accountability for what happened and that I learned from what happened, and I would never embarrass my family, myself or any organization ever again.”

Shaw said he learned a lot about himself over this past season, and promised that something like this never will happen again, that he's not some type of pathological liar.

“It’s not hard at all, because I did do it, and I realized what each of my mistakes were, and I think that’s important to them. That when I talk to them about what happened, I know where I messed up and I know what I could have done different. And so it’s just important to be transparent with them,” Shaw said. “Most of the meetings, when I leave, they always tell me they respect me being very candid and honest with them.”



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