- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Skov tore his ACL and MCL and fractured his tibia, an injury that required three surgeries. When his father flew up from Mexico to visit him, he caught his son in an unguarded moment sobbing in his dorm bed. "There were some points," says Shayne, "when it was hard to believe I was going to get back."
Skov bottomed out on Jan. 29, 2012. While driving home from teammate Ryan Hewitt's 21st-birthday party, he was pulled over in a parking lot outside his dormitory and arrested for DUI. "I made a mistake," says Skov. "Certainly I wasn't, like, smashed drunk speeding down the freeway. I broke the law, though, and I suffered the consequences from it." After pleading no contest in March 2012, Skov was fined and attended a diversion program.
Skov didn't leave his dorm room for a month, except to go to class and rehab for his knee. His GPA slipped to 2.9. When he did finally go to a Stanford baseball game that spring, Skov felt as if the entire stadium was staring at him. Skov knew they weren't admiring his Mohawk. "The worst part about it wasn't being suspended, or having to pay fines, or having to go to jail," he says. "The social impact of what I had to go through afterward was much more resounding to me."
Skov's locker was cleared out and Shaw suspended him for the 2012 opener. The school's judicial affairs board suspended him for the spring 2013 quarter. "It probably was my darkest hour," he says.
Skov's return to the field snapped him out of his emotional funk. But though he led the team in tackles and Stanford won its first Rose Bowl since 1972, he didn't feel like himself. Against Oregon, Skov was unable to get an angle on Marcus Mariota and watched as the Ducks' quarterback broke off a 77-yard run. Skov was missing his burst. He knew he couldn't leave for the NFL—unless he wanted to be a fourth- or fifth-round pick.
Skov now feels he has that burst back. He won't ever run a 4.4 40, but he makes up for a lack in speed with natural instincts and the ability, in the words of Shaw, to "knock down a 300-pound man while standing still."
David Kotulski, Skov's position coach, says he can hear Skov's explosiveness: "Manny Ramirez or David Ortiz or Albert Pujols, there's a different sound when they hit the ball. The same thing when Shayne hits you, there's a different sound."
Skov also makes an aural impression before he takes the field. His stirring pregame speeches about brotherhood have become YouTube hits. "I'll admit it," says Shaw, "I'm the second-best locker room speaker on the team."
SKOV INVENTED a word to sum up the quarter he spent away from school: soccermomming. Patrick took the quarter off as well, and the boys lived with their sisters for the first time since the girls were much younger, playing Mr. Moms while Peter was in Mexico. "It could have been a little TV sitcom," says Kellman.
Shayne cooked dinners of salmon, steaks and pasta. Patrick, 21, packed lunches and felt a distinctly parental rejection when they were returned uneaten. Shayne, once the Piedmont troublemaker, became a station-wagon-driving disciplinarian. Every night Patrick would tell Olivia, "Goodnight and don't let the bed bugs bite," then jump back, startled by a poster of Taylor Lautner on the wall. Through it all, the four siblings bonded in a way that geography, illness and school obligations hadn't allowed them to. They made a handful of family visits to their mother in Oakland, savoring the time they could all spend together. "To get where we are, my brother and I haven't been around our family as much as most people would like to be," says Shayne. "Especially my sisters. You can't make up for lost time, but being integrated with them was terrific."