RECRUITING: Sherrod Wreaks Havoc at UF Camp

They ran out of ambulances in Gainesville on Monday morning. The Hospital emergency ward was full of huge defensive linemen and it looked like a battle zone. An all-points bulletin went out looking for someone that was basically having his way with these guys.

(Derek Sherrod profile)

When the dust settled, they found out a beast from Mississippi was making short change at the Urban Meyer camp. It was probably best that Derek Sherrod attended only one session of camp.

The 6-6, 298 pound man-child from Caledonia (MS) talks like he is 30, but really only just turned 17 years old. He had a good time on the trip with his father and coach in tow.

"I attended the University of Florida's football camp," he said. "Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to do the whole thing, but I got to sample a part of it. I was there Sunday night and Monday morning. It was an experience that everyone should try and do. There are a lot of good football players and I got to go up against a lot of great players."

When asked about the carnage at the field, the good natured Mississippian just laughed.

"There were a lot of good defensive linemen," he said. "I thought I practiced with some good offensive linemen, but I thought I represented the state of Mississippi well."

Talk about understatements. He was the talk among all the linemen at the camp. Evidently the Florida staff liked what they saw too.

"They told me they were really impressed with what I showed them," he said. "I tried to use what they taught me with the best of my ability. I tried to perform well at the practice and they complimented me with how I performed. They just congratulated me and said they were really impressed."

He also gleaned a great deal from the limited time on the football field in Gainesville. It is something he will take back with him and make him a better player.

"I think I learned a lot," he said. "They helped me out about staying low and improving my stance. They taught me how to start out and fire out harder. My stance and firing out were the biggest things."

His modesty showed on the phone when asked of the strong points of his game. Sherrod hesitated but then made it clear of his relentless style of play.

"It is really hard for me to give up," he said. "When I am in the zone I am in the zone. When I play, I stay focused and strive to reach my goals. Also, my leadership qualities -- I am going to be a senior this year and one of only a few that are seniors. So, I have to be a leader."

He is wide open and any school that comes knocking he will take a look at. Right now, there seem to be seven that stand out for Sherrod.

"At this point every one is equal but I have a list of exceptional favorites: Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Florida, Notre Dame, Miami, Michigan, and Louisville."

His brother, Dezmond Sherrod, is currently on the Mississippi State squad and signed there in 2003. Derek has visited there a few times. He also was returning from Ole Miss when I caught him on the phone. He hasn't been to any of the other of his seven favorites.

"I am leaving Ole Miss right now," he said. "My dad and I came up here to visit Coach Orgeron and a couple of more of his coaching staff. It was wonderful. He gave us a tour of all the facilities and told us about his recruiting plan and it sounded really good."

Sherrod has only planned trips for the summer include a camp stop at Mississippi State and a trip up to South Bend to meet the Notre Dame coaching staff.

There are a few things Sherrod already has high on his list when looking carefully at the schools recruiting him.

"The football history and tradition of the school is important," he said. "How they hold their education for their football players is big to me."

Florida bodes well in both of those categories. He got to see the academic side on his visit to Gainesville too.

"They told us how their football players did with grades and their graduation rate," he said. "They presented it really well and I was really impressed. The University of Florida is a top notch school in my book and they are going to be a favorite when decision time comes."

In the meantime, he and his family will enjoy the ride.

"I came down with my dad and my high school coach," he said. "They love it and are really proud of me. They just love this experience and the opportunity that I have."

Yeah, but take it easy on us poor Florida folk will ya, big guy?

"I had to show them what people form Mississippi are made of," he said while laughing.

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