Some college students may find it hard to play just one sport. Derrick Shaw plays two – football and baseball.
The demands of a dual-sport and full-time student include a rigorous fitness training that begins at 5 a.m, classes at 8 a.m., then he heads to practice after classes at the end of his day.
“This is something I’ve been doing all my life,” said Shaw, a 21-year-old from Altamonte Springs, Fla. “It’s really about knowing what you want to do, setting a goal, and doing it.”
Last year, as a freshman, he managed to make the All-MEAC first team in baseball and Louisville Slugger named him an All-American.
This year he plans to expand on his success by helping the Rattlers achieve something that they have not achieved in some time, a MEAC baseball title.
Shaw said he believes the high academic standards set by his high school, Lake Brantley, prepared him for success at FAMU.
“My high school really expressed the importance of academics, so when I got to FAMU it was an easy transition to play both sports and still be able to excel, in the classroom,” Shaw said.
He said the intense workout regime he maintained during the football season would make him a better competitor on the baseball diamond.
“All the lifting weights and other workouts makes you a little stronger than the average baseball player, so it definitely gives you an extra edge,” Shaw said.
Assistant Baseball Coach Brett Richardson said Shaw is no stranger to hard work.
“Not to downgrade the work that we do on the baseball field, but the work that he had to do on the football field is probably double as intense. So he knows and understands the importance of it,” said Richardson, who added that Shaw has great potential, but offered the sophomore some advice after he had such a successful freshman season.
“When you have success early in your career as Shaw did, you’re no longer a secret,” Richardson said. “Teams have their eye on you. So he should build on his success and don’t get relaxed at this point.”
Along with his success on the field, Shaw has been making the grade in the classroom. The social work student isn’t shy about telling his GPA: 3.5, he said in an interview.
FAMU head football coach Joe Taylor said Shaw is one of the elite students who can succeed as a dual athlete.
“Many student-athletes would like to play dual sports, but their transcripts must reflect that,” Taylor said. “Derrick is an honor student, who prioritizes, makes good decisions, and has a strong spiritual foundation. He’s more than capable of handling the task.”
Shaw said he plans to become more of a leader on the baseball diamond this year.
His multi-tasking abilities are also evident on his athletic resumé. In football, he played wide receiver and participated on the special teams.
In baseball, he started as an outfielder and moved to third base. This year he wants to play second base.
Shaw said he is trying to fine-tune his skills for an opportunity to play Major League Baseball.
“There is a difference when you desire and when you put your whole heart to accomplish what you have,” said Shaw, who is preparing for the Rattlers season opener on Feb. 19 against Richmond University in Jacksonville.
“I was raised in a solid foundation in which I learned that whatever I put my mind to I would be able to do it because I always do my fullest,” he said. “When you truly want something there is nothing that can stop you.”