Will Shaffer Named Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week
Read about all the Arizona high school graduates on our 2020-21 rosters | Sun Devil Football Pac-12 Player of the Week by Season | ASU Football Dominates Oregon State in 46-33 win to close out 2020 campaign | Herm Edwards' Announcement on Bowl Game | Will Shaffer Raised to be a Sun Devil (AZ Central)
SAN FRANCISCO – Sun Devil Football freshman linebacker Will Shaffer was named the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week, the conference announced Monday afternoon.
Shaffer played a key role in the 46-33 victory over Oregon State to cap the 2020 season. He becomes the fifth Sun Devil to take home a weekly conference award, with at least one member of the team honored after each of the four games Arizona State played. The Scottsdale native joins Michael Turk (Special Teams) and Merlin Robertson (Defensive) from the week of November 9, Tyler Johnson (Defensive Lineman) from the week of December 7, and Dohnovan West (Offensive Lineman) last week in receiving the recognition.
Special Teams has been a strength for the Maroon & Gold all season, with Shaffer thriving on multiple units. In a game tied at seven midway through the first quarter, the Sun Devil defense got a stop and the Beavers trotted out Luke Loecher to punt on fourth down.
Assistant Head Coach and Special Teams coordinator Shawn Slocum dialed up the perfect scheme to confuse the Oregon State protection, allowing Shaffer to run up the middle untouched. Outstretching his arms at the perfect time, Shaffer blocked the punt, sending it backwards and setting the Sun Devil offense up with great field position. He was credited with a 22-yard punt return on the play because of the where the kick was recovered. It was the first blocked punt for ASU since Timarcus Davis did so against No. 15 Cal on Sept. 27, 2019.
On the ensuing drive, Jayden Daniels cashed in the momentum-changing play with a seven-yard touchdown run, giving Arizona State a lead they would never relinquish. Not only has Shaffer made an impact on the punt return team, he has also contributed on kick return and both punt and kick coverage units. In total, Shaffer has three tackles, half a tackle for loss, and a pass deflection seeing action on defense and special teams during his debut season.
Sun Devil Football closed out the 2020 regular season in impressive fashion on Saturday, piling up 514 yards in total offense, including 375 yards on the ground, in a 46-33 win at Oregon State. Shaffer and the Sun Devil defense created two more turnovers, giving them 34 forced turnovers in the last 11 games dating back to last season (3.1 turnovers per game).
New this season, all weekly Pac-12 football awards will be presented by Nextiva, the Pac-12's Official Communications Partner. At the conclusion of the season, Nextiva will also present Pac-12 annual performance awards, including Offensive Player of the Year, Freshman Offensive Player of the Year, Freshman Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year.
Arizona State University decided that Saturday's game against Oregon State will be the team's final competition of 2020.
"Our number one priority has always been the well-being of our players, and we are making this decision based upon that," Head Coach Herm Edwards said. "Our players have worked extremely hard since they returned to campus this summer, and they have shown tremendous resiliency in dealing with adversity and challenges each and every day. We're proud of what they have accomplished and of the way they have handled everything on and off the field. We look forward to beginning our preparations for the 2021 season when they return to campus January 11."