USC CB Josh Shaw injured while rescuing drowning nephew

AP Photo/Eric Risberg
Cornerback Josh Shaw has made 21 starts over the past two seasons for USC.

It was supposed to be a great weekend for Josh Shaw as he prepared for USC's season opener. It turned into something far more serious, though.

Shaw, a starting cornerback for the Trojans, was named one of team's six captains on Saturday afternoon. He was out celebrating with family members in his hometown of Palmdale, Calif., later that night when the senior leaped from a second floor balcony onto the concrete below to save his 7-year-old nephew from drowning in a pool, according to a school release. Shaw noticed his nephew was in distress and without help nearby before he made the leap, per the school release.

Shaw was taken to the hospital and suffered high ankle sprains on both legs, which will sideline him indefinitely, the school announced. His nephew was "traumatized," but OK after the incident, per the USC release.

"I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew," Shaw said, according to the release. "My ankles really hurt, but I am lucky to be surrounded by the best trainers and doctors in the world. I am taking my rehab one day at a time, and I hope to be back on the field as soon as possible."

USC head coach Steve Sarkisian praised Shaw for his bravery.

"That was a heroic act by Josh, putting his personal safety aside. But that's the kind of person he is," Sarkisian said, per the release. "It is unfortunate that he'll be sidelined for a while and we will miss his leadership and play, but I know he'll be working hard to get back on the field as soon as possible."

Shaw is considered one of the top defensive backs in the country and was set to anchor the Trojans' secondary as a fifth-year senior. He started all 14 games last season and played both cornerback and free safety after transferring to the program from Florida in the spring of 2012. He played cornerback and strong safety in his first season with the Trojans.

Redshirt freshman Chris Hawkins and true freshman Adoree' Jackson are the top candidates to replace Shaw and take the spot opposite Kevon Seymour at cornerback.

We hate to see preseason injuries, but thankfully, Shaw's heroic actions didn't result in anything more serious than two high ankle sprains. With his nephew said to be doing OK, hopefully Shaw will fulfill the school's motto and fight on later this season.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.