When the word popular in used in the college football recruiting world, the first thing that comes to mind are the number of offers a recruit has. If that really is the case then Derek Sherrod, who has eight offers, is one of the three or four most popular guys in the state of Mississippi.
"Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Louisville, Houston, Miami, Arkansas State and Alcorn State have offered me," said the quiet youngster.
But offers aren't the only sign of popularity. During the months of April and May, school visits and phone calls by college coaches are two other signs.
"Louisville has come by (the school) and LSU and Miami," said Derek. "I've received (May) calls from Houston, Mississippi State and Ole Miss."
Derek's come a long way since I first met him. I was living in Caledonia at the time and I was asked to cover a signing day party for Dezmond Sherrod. Dezmond, who is Derek's older brother, was signing with Mississippi State. Derek, who was in the 8th grade at the time, reflected on what has occurred since that day.
"I never thought that any of this would happen back then. I was astonished that my brother was being that heavily recruited. And I was really excited for him and not thinking about myself back then," said the 6-6+, 302-pounder. "In my 9th grade year I wasn't thinking about colleges. I was just thinking about improving myself because I knew I had a lot to work on as a starter on the team."
However, things changed in a big way the following year. One event occurred in the spring of 2005 that caused Derek to realize that he just might be a D-I football prospect.
"Most likely, it was the Scout.com combine because it only accepted the best in the south. It opened my eyes a little bit to the possibilty that I could be like my brother and play at a big-name school," said Derek. "The day I accepted the fact (that I was a D-I prospect) was when I received my first (recruiting) letter (from a college). I was really shocked and realized that this is probably going to happen. Since then, I've probably received letters from 30 to 40-something schools."
While Derek is open to all of those 30 or 40 schools that have written him, seven stand atop his list.
"Mississippi State, Miami, Houston, Louisville, Ole Miss, Florida and LSU," said Derek, when asked to name his favorite schools.
Derek mentioned earlier that he was excited to see his older brother receive so much recruiting attention. That table is turned now. What does his older brother think about Derek's popularity with college coaches?
"Dezmond is proud to see how his little brother is doing," said Derek.
Look for another update with Derek in the very near future.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.