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We go over what will go on during the interview and he answers yes sir multiple times. He’s polite and he seems as if he’s been waiting to tell his story. When I mention that we are ready to start, his whole demeanor changes as if he’s up for the moment liken to seconds before the quarterback snaps the ball.
Gabe Sherrod is from Perryville, Maryland. He played defensive end for the Michigan State Spartans last year. Sherrod fell in love with football at an early age. Wanting to follow what his cousins did, Sherrod begged his mother to sign him up for little league football. Athleticism is a family trait that runs through his blood. “My dad Richard Sherrod played at Georgia Southern University and my uncle Anthony Sherrod played at Georgia Tech.” He also has family members who has played basketball and baseball at the collegiate level as well.
As a defensive end, Sherrod’s displays explosiveness off the line from the snap. He has the ability to beat the linemen before they react off the ball because of his quickness. “I’m very sudden and I can get into the backfield and be disruptive,” says Sherrod. His speed and power combined allows him to not only beat his man but get to the quarterback before he can escape.”I’m just going to affect the game in explosive ways.”
His favorite player is Von Miller, linebacker from the Denver Broncos. He enjoys his quickness off the ball and the way he’s able to control the game. “Miller is my favorite but I model my game after Dwight Freeney and Michael Bennett,” says Sherrod. Freeney’s uncanny motor and willingness to play until the whistles blow is what Sherrod emulates when he’s on the edge. The Michigan State defensive end is relentless and plays with an attitude like Bennett but he still gets compared to defensive end Chandler Jones from the Arizona Cardinals.
“I’m very sudden and I can get into the backfield and be disruptive,”
In high school, his athleticism gave him the opportunity to play quarterback from his sophomore year until he graduated. He also played safety in his sophomore and junior year. Once he got to college, he played another position that showed off his athleticism. “When I first got to college, I was recruited as a receiver at Delaware State University,” stated Sherrod. The athletic player was redshirted. “I played receiver halfway through the year and then they moved me to tight end which I also started my redshirt freshman year.”
Sherrod was switched to defensive end and started to make his mark in college. It’s usually hard for most to switch from quarterback to safety, then wide receiver to tight end and finally defensive end. Sherrod adversity made him mentally tough and able to adjust. “I lost my dad when I was twelve years old to suicide. That was a real eye opening experience for me.” It was really tough on Sherrod growing up. “My mom did the best that she could to teach her son to be a respectable young man and I’m forever in debt to her for that,” said Sherrod.
That affected the young Sherrod and it showed through his behavior in school. “We had a parent teacher conference and my social studies teacher told my mom that I would never make it out of our county.” That pushed Sherrod into being a better man and becoming more focused in life. “Without some of those life lessons, I probably wouldn’t have gotten my degree and wouldn’t be talking to you right now.”
One of the few that inspired Sherrod was Daniel Wilson. Wilson was someone that he could look up to. “He raised me up while my mom was working two jobs. Him and his wife took me everywhere with them.” Wilson was that father figure who pushed him to be the best he could be. Wilson told Sherrod that the world was made up of math. Now Sherrod has a degree in math. Wilson passed away two weeks prior to the interview.
“I lost my dad when I was twelve years old to suicide. That was a real eye opening experience for me.”
After a stellar junior year at Delaware State ranked second in tackles for defensive ends in the FCS, Sherrod drew a lot of attention. “I had calls coming in from Alabama, Virginia, at least one school from every power block conference,” stated Sherrod. The college graduate recorded 25 tackles for lost that year and eight sacks.
The 250 pound junior was the first player out of his high school to go to a division I school. Sherrod chose Michigan State. “That first game against Furman, we came out the tunnel and the student section was jumping up and down and we walked across the field. That made me realize like wow, I’m in the Big Ten.”
Because of his play, Sherrod was invited to the Tropical Bowl in Daytona, Florida. Sherrod once again displayed why he was picked up by Michigan State. He recorded 2.5 sacks with four tackles (two tackles for loss) in the game. He constantly was in the backfield harassing the quarterback whether sacking or rushing the quarterback.
As a young man, he wants to be known as one of the best but doesn’t take this opportunity to showcase his talent lightly. “My goal is to enjoy the ride whether it’s a 10 year career or putting a helmet on for training camp and I get cut. It’s been a tremendous ride and I just want to take it as far as possible.”