During the first five spring practices, five out of what will eventually be fifteen spring practices, 6’0” 200-pound sophomore safety Anthony Sherrils has been working as the first-team strong safety for Missouri. Sherrils is less than a year removed from a position switch from corner to safety, so he’s getting more and more comfortable with playing his new position with each practice. He’s pleased with the decision to make the switch to safety.
“I’m a one,” explained Sherrils, citing his current first-team status. “I mean, the coaches believe in me. And, I’ve got to prove them right. (At safety) I’m free to make plays. I’m on the back end. I’ve got the corners counting on me. I’ve got the linebackers counting on me. I just make plays.”
Sherrils enjoys coming down to support the run.
“I like tackling,” said Sherrils. “I like coming down full speed and laying the wood.”
Sherrils knows that he has to continue to improve and compete for the starting position.
“It’s (early),” explained Sherrils. “I’m running with the ones. It’s anybody’s spot right now. No one has a job that’s set in concrete. So, I’m just working.”
From all reports, Sherrils is having a good spring. When it comes to playing for a new position coach, Sherrils said that it’s not much different.
“He wants the best out of us,” said Sherrils, referring to his new position coach Ryan Walters. “Every day, he’s pulling greatness out of us…………………………………. It’s not a big difference (from Coach Grinch). It’s almost the same, really. His coaching style is a little different when it comes to techniques. He’s using a little different techniques. But other than that, they both just want to see us do good.”
This spring, Sherrils was timed at 4.29 seconds in the 40-yard dash, to go along with a 39” standing vertical jump. In the bench press, he did 22 reps at 225 pounds.
Sherrils is one of the more athletic players on the Missouri team. Last fall, Sherrils impressed with his play on special teams, particularly kick and punt coverage squads, where he utilized his speed and athleticism to make a lot of tackles. There were a few times when Sherrils saved a touchdown or a long gain by being able to run down the opposing return man.
This spring, Sherrils is listed as the number one punt return man, and the number two kick returner.
“Marcus Murphy has been the guy for years,” explained Sherrils, referring to the return duties. “So, it’s anybody’s job.”
Sherrils realizes that the primary responsibility of the punt returner is to catch the football.
“You’ve got to keep the ball off the ground,” acknowledged Sherrils, citing the responsibility that goes with the job. “It’s just being accountable, doing the job…………………………………… I love catching punts. I love it!”