Note from Sports360AZ CEO Brad Cesmat:Wednesday is College Football National Letter of Intent Day. We asked Saguaro athlete Will Shaffer, who’s signing with Arizona State, to share his high school experiences on and off the field, as well as why ASU was the best fit for him to continue his academic and athletic career.
These past four years at Saguaro High School has been a fantastic and spectacular ride. I came into Saguaro as a bright-eyed freshman young boy and I was excited to get my high school career going. I remember my first encounter with head coach Jason Mohns and I knew of his past achievements and the many things he has done for this program. Coach Mohns is an intelligent and great man who holds himself with much dignity and gratitude.
My freshman year of playing high school football I started at tight end and defensive end. I finished the year with a plethora of tackles and 19 touchdowns. It was a very successful year in the classroom as well as on the football field. I met new kids and created bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime. Coach Mohns recognized my success and gave me the opportunity and called me up to varsity halfway through the season. I had the experience of us winning our fourth-consecutive state championship with a senior loaded, talented class.
My sophomore year I got the chance to see the field as a varsity football player and start in multiple bi games. My stats didn’t jump off the board but I learned how to become a great teammate. This made me realize that I’m not always going to be the star player but role players have their purpose, too. In 2017, we won our fifth consecutive state title beating a good Tucson Salpointe Catholic team.
The spring and summer going into my junior year I took it upon myself to become a breakout player and I got the opportunity to start on both sides of the ball. I was not a highly recruited player before the season so I took it personal and had a big year. This was one of my best ones playing football performance-wise and we finished the year 13-1 and won our sixth-straight state title. In December, after our state championship game that next week I received my first division one football offer to the University of Memphis. This gave me a new found confidence and I had the mindset that I could do anything. That next spring my recruiting started to ramp up and I received a couple of more Division I offers but there were still a couple that I had my eyes on. One being Arizona State, the hometown school. As a young child, I attended many Arizona State football games with my father and grandfather. Growing up and being around the Sun Devil culture and seeing how this program has grown over the years was very exciting to me.
— Ralph Amsden (@ralphamsden) December 18, 2019
In April 2019, at a spring ball practice, Antonio Pierce the linebackers coach at ASU made an appearance. I had been getting recruited by ASU but I wouldn’t have thought that they would’ve given me an offer. When the practice ended Coach Mohns brought the team together and announced in front of team that I have received the ASU offer. This was a fantastic experience as I was able to celebrate with my teammates that day and it shined a new light on my recruitment. After months of talking with my family and much consideration in June, I decided to make my commitment to Arizona State University. I knew this decision was going to affect and change my life forever but I knew in my heart that ASU was the right fit for me.
I’M STAYING HOME!? pic.twitter.com/BXDNLaqkvC
— Will Shaffer ??♂️ (@chillwill_8) June 13, 2019
This decision was very family-oriented as most of my family that is close to me lives in the state of Arizona. Having them being able to attend most of my games and sit in the stands on Saturdays and cheer me on in Sun Devil stadium means so much to me. I have many family ties that relate to ASU. Both of my grandparents attended and graduated from this university, as well as my great uncle. They were all ecstatic when I told them I have made the decision to commit and they are behind me and support me fully as well as long as with my parents. As I sign on December 18th, I just want to thank all of the coaches, mentors and many family members that I have had in my corner with me through my high school career as well as my entire life. Without them I wouldn’t be the man I am today and I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the many accomplishments I have done.
I got the benefit of playing my senior year without worrying about recruitment and being able to focus on the team and this wonderful senior class. This year was the first year of the open division playoff where no matter what classification your school was you play against the top eight teams in the state. Being at such a dominant program like Saguaro we had our eyes set on this playoff since it was announced back in January. I can honestly say this was my best year of football. As I received accolades and awards I was truly able to enjoy my final year with my brothers and the Saguaro family. We lost in the open division championship 42-35 to a talented Chandler team but we fought hard and never lost hope and I love my team forever for that valiant effort. Even though it wasn’t the result we wanted we will remember these experiences for the rest of our lives and cherish all of these memories.
I am grateful to be able to share my story. Thank You and God Bless!