As some of you probably already know I put together all of the player profiles for the incoming Alabama freshmen this year. I did the majority of those profiles before National Signing Day even got here. All of them except two players, Rashaan Evans and Elisha Shaw.
For Evans, I waited to find out if he would actually shock everyone and sign with Alabama, and I honestly I didn’t think he would so I had to write that one last minute. The other player, however, was someone not even on my radar. I had heard the name but it really didn’t register with me.
Elisha Shaw was at one time a very highly sought after defensive tackle prospect from Georgia. He was a massive young man whose entire future changed with a severe neck injury suffered in the pre-season of 2013.
The injury didn’t stop most schools from recruiting him, as it was unclear whether he would get to play or not, but then late in 2013 Shaw got the bad news he didn’t want to hear from his doctors. He would never get to play football again.
Every school pulled their scholarship offer except one; Alabama and Nick Saban kept their scholarship offer on the table.
Shaw will be able to attend Alabama via football scholarship and receive a medical hardship. It’s a gesture that you’re not going to see plastered all over ESPN today, or really any day. This isn’t like a player getting arrested or saying something stupid on Twitter; it’s a real story which means it will be primarily ignored for the most part.
Although every “Nicky Satan” comment or oversigning claim hurled at Saban is blasted from the rooftops, things like the Elisha Shaw scholarship get ignored. If he blows up at the media over a stupid question, you can bet it will be all over ESPN. When he and members of the team show up at a children’s hospital to hang out with cancer patients, ESPN doesn’t care so much.
Elisha Shaw is a kid that won’t get to live his dream of playing major college football, but he will get to go to a major college and get a first-rate education because of the effort and dedication he gave to the sport he loves. For that dedication and effort he has been rewarded, and for giving him this opportunity Nick Saban should be praised.