Demarcus Sherod: His Coach's Take interviewed the high school coach for each of the Oklahoma State commitments in the days leading up to National Signing Day. In this installment of "His Coach's Take," we visit with Columbia High School head coach Mario Allen about Demarcus Sherod, a 6-2, 220-pound linebacker from Decatur, Ga.

What are his strengths as a football player?
Mario Allen: He's a very smart kid, very instinctive. He has a knack for the game. He's a competitor. He has a great will to persevere and fight through any adversity as a football player and as a young man.

What do you believe will be his biggest challenge in going from high school to playing in the Big 12?
Mario Allen: I think the environment. He's coming from the southeastern part of the country and never having lived outside this area, so mainly just getting used to the environment and becoming familiar with Oklahoma. I think for the most part he'll adjust well, like he always does. I think the speed of the game will be a big difference, and like most kids he will make the adjustment.

Was there one game, or maybe even one play, during his career that you'll always remember?
Mario Allen: During the time I've been here, and I've been here during his junior and senior years, I would say there have been a few times we've had some crucial fourth-and-one goal-line stands and he came up with a big tackle or a big sack. He's done a lot for the football program and he's going to be missed. It's going to be hard to replace him next year.

What are three words that describe him as a football player?
Mario Allen: Fearless, will, and perseverance.

Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State?
Mario Allen: I think Coach (Glenn) Spencer really recruited Demarcus and showed him from day one that he is the player that he wanted at Oklahoma State. It says a lot when the guy that is going to be coaching you when you get there picks you to be his guy. Coach Spencer from day one never swayed or never gave Demarcus any indication that he was just going to be another guy or another number. A lot of schools came after Demarcus but Coach Spencer and the Oklahoma State staff really dedicated their time into recruiting Demarcus over the last seven or eight months. Coach Gundy, Coach Spencer, Coach (Jason) Jones, Coach (Robert) Gillespie prior to him leaving to go to West Virginia, and Coach (Bill) Young, all of those guys made it a point to let him know that you're our guy no matter what.

Over the course of his college career, whether it be four or five years, what do you expect him to accomplish?
Mario Allen: I expect him to do continue doing what he's been doing and just be better at it. Over the course of the next four or five years he's not going to have any off the field character issues. He's going to be a stand-up young man who represents the University to the utmost with the dignity that is expected when he gets there. I'm hoping that during the course of the next four or five years he's able to win some Big 12 championships. But more importantly than that is he gets his college degree. I'm looking forward to knowing that the next four or five years he'll be playing good college football, represents his community well and his high school well, but most importantly go get his college degree, and then maybe come back and be a productive citizen in the Atlanta area or wherever he ends up.

What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Mario Allen: His smile. He smiles a lot. Also, understanding from where he's coming from and where he's going. A lot of people don't know the situation where he's coming from and the opportunity he's put himself in to maybe be the person who can change the course of his family's destiny. A lot of the kids I deal with come from inner-city situations and they are in a position to be that person in their family who may change the outcome of his family line. He may be the first one to go to college and get a college degree or go off and have an opportunity to play professional football, whether it be the NFL, Canadian League, Arena Football ...just have an opportunity to do something different that nobody else in the family has had an opportunity to do. A lot of people won't see where he's coming from and what he's been through but I know personally. I'm happy for him and glad that he's got the opportunity to do what he can in the classroom and on the football field. When you work hard this is what happens for you.

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