Four-star defensive back Joshua Shaw (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdale) announced he would be playing his college ball for the Florida Gators at an assembly at his high school on Tuesday.
Shaw, an Under Armour All-American who is No. 33 in the ESPNU 150 and the third-ranked cornerback, chose the Gators over Ohio State, LSU and USC, and it was a official visit back in early September that propelled Florida to the top of the list.
"That was an eye-opening trip for me," said the 6-foot-2, 181-pound Shaw. "I loved the coaching staff and specifically Coach [Urban] Meyer. He was the only head coach who personally recruited me and that made a big difference.
"I love watching Florida play, they have so many athletes and play fast and aggressive. The coaches told me they love my size and speed and with Joe Haden likely coming out this year, I'll have a chance to step in and play early next fall and that's a big deal for me.
"They play a lot of true freshman at Florida and Haden and Janoris Jenkins were both freshman starters at corner. Both are probably going to be first-round draft picks, too, so that was a pretty big selling point."
Shaw even took a second visit to Gainesville on his own dime two weeks ago for another close encounter with The Swamp.
"On my first visit, I didn't get to spend as much time as I wanted to with the players," Shaw said. "I just wanted to see how I bonded with everyone there and see if would fit in or not. It was definitely worth it and I had a chance to meet a lot of the guys and see what a close-knit group everyone is.
"I also got to see more of the campus and get a better feel for what it would be like if I was a student there. I just felt so comfortable there and it has always been a dream of mine to play big-time football and to get away from home, so what better place to do that at than with the national champions."
Prior to his visit to Florida, Shaw was actually leaning to Ohio State. He took an unofficial visit in the summer and fell in love with the place and had a great official visit in September, as well.
"I really bonded well with the players at Ohio State," Shaw said. "It's a great school and I have so much respect for Coach [Jim] Tressel. They always have great defenses and put a lot of corners in to the league [NFL]. It was tough to say no to them, but I just felt like Florida was the best fit."
Another school Shaw had to turn down was the local favorite, the USC Trojans.
"That was a tough call to make," Shaw said. "I talked to BC [Brennan Carroll] for awhile and then he said to make sure I called his dad to let him know. Coach [Pete] Carroll was pretty disappointed and he said he really wished I would have given them an official visit to show what SC is all about.
"They talked to me several times during the day and said they still plan to recruit me, but I'm solid with Florida. I'm a man of my word and this wasn't a spur of the moment decision for me. I thought a lot about this and Florida is just the best fit for me.
"Ohio State was right there too. There wasn't much separating Ohio State and USC, but I wanted to leave home so in the end, it really came down to Florida and Ohio State but I got that special feeling at Florida and I just knew in my gut that was where I belonged."