Mekhail Sherman is on the bounceback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and partial lateral meniscus tear. His physicians report he is ahead of the pace of the average patient with this comeback.
That makes sense given he is a major 5-star OLB target for the Bulldogs in the 2020 class.
Sherman, who was dubbed “Big Sherm” way back when he looked like a senior as a freshman, is seen by UGA as a combo LB.
He rates as the nation’s No. 2 OLB for this cycle. The 6-foot-3, 233-pound junior will also chart as the nation’s No. 13 overall player on the 2020 247Sports Composite ratings. He’s one of the many D.C. “DMV” fishing hole targets for 2020.
5-star? Nation’s No. 2 OLB? But then Sherman is a combo linebacker for UGA? Does that make sense?
That is exactly like the late junior recruiting year profiles for Bulldog linebackers Channing Tindall, Quay Walker and Rian Davis.
5-star freshman Adam Anderson also repped at ILB and OLB in 2018.
The exception here is that Sherman was essentially stupid fast prior to the injury. He was just as fast or faster than those guys.
That is clearly the case for a high school junior who tipped the scales at more than 230 pounds.
Does that qualify as hype or hyperbole here? It seems more like understatement given the notion the combo LB was in the later heats of the Nike Opening “Fastest Man” last summer in Texas.
His best laser time was 4.53 that day. To put that in perspective, freshman OLB Nolan Smith ran a 4.55 in the 40 for his rating card that day.
Sherman had a strong family visit to Athens this weekend. He aims to be cleared to play the game he loves without restrictions again on April 17.
“I’m in front of the average person when it comes to this surgery and rehab due to God’s grace,” he said.
With that, it will be a happy day. It seems safe to say that he will be eager to hit the field and cut it loose. Sherman said he has grown from this trial and rehab grind.
4 MONTHS! 🥰 Thank Him Everyday! pic.twitter.com/HfxTnfFGgc
— Mekhail Sherman🌹 (@JuicedUpK9) February 15, 2019
“Very eager if you want to use that exact vocabulary,” Sherman said. “It gave me more appreciation to the game. This time away from it only added fuel to the fire. I’m ready to show the nation what they missed and more.”
Check the film below. Bear in mind that the reel below is from the first four games of his 2017 season. He lost a lot of his junior year due to that injury.
“My playing style is based off making the offensive coordinator’s pregame night restless,” he said.
Or better yet watch the last 60 seconds of his DeMatha Catholic highlight reel. DeMatha is a national power out of the D.C. Metro as well. This was that “Big Sherm” guy way back in 2017.
How Georgia helped itself with Mekhail Sherman last week
Sherman just turned 17 last week. He spent a birthday weekend of sorts of a long-planned trip to check out UGA again. He was already in town by Friday morning.
Did the Bulldogs gain any ground? His words are pretty clear on that.
“Georgia helped themselves in many ways,” Sherman told DawgNation. “The main way they helped [themselves] was by showing a true family vibe. Not only with me, but with my family as well.”
The Bulldogs are in this recruiting story in a big way. How do they compare to the other elite schools that are now chasing him?
“UGA has set itself apart from other big-time colleges,” he said this week.
The St. John’s College High School junior (Washington, D.C.) will not be able to enroll early. Those programs are not allowed to the schools in his conference.
Sherman feels that UGA has clearly done enough to now earn an official visit. His next trip back to Athens could very well be for G-Day.
His decision timeline now seems fluid. He tweeted back on December 28 that he would likely decide on early signing day for the 2020 class.
Now, he says that he could decide this summer. That’s a possibility now. But that early signing day finish line is still a possibility, too.
Visits usually leave recruits with a certain feeling or vibe. They are set up that way.
It is not what a school says per se, but it is how they make the recruit feel on that trip which determines whether or not it was a momentum visit.
Was there a specific moment over the weekend when Sherman felt that “family” vibe in Athens?
That answer is no. There was nothing specific in that vein for Sherman. It was just that feeling. UGA accomplished its mission there.
“It is a simple fact that they recruited my family as well,” Sherman told DawgNation. “Just the same way they recruited me. They realize that. How important my family is in my decision making.”
Sherman shows off a worldly presence with his thoughts on social media. He comes across as a young man who will value a certain approach.
As an Athlete, 1 out of the 3 will suffer: Social Life, Education, Your Athletic Career.
— Mekhail Sherman🌹 (@JuicedUpK9) January 25, 2019
The Dan Lanning factor here for UGA
Newly-minted defensive coordinator Dan Lanning has been recruiting Sherman essentially since he arrived at Georgia last year.
There is a “real” connection here between those two. Check out Sherman’s reaction tweet to the news that Lanning was officially official as the new DC at UGA.
Yessir ! https://t.co/EC7zBxhmdx
— Mekhail Sherman🌹 (@JuicedUpK9) February 15, 2019
Has Lanning gone about this recruitment the right way? Do his methods stand out?
“Yes, his approach is very different than any coach,” Sherman said. “He comes with a family vibe. I keep emphasizing that because it’s real.”
Let’s be clear about this recruitment. This is not a surge of momentum. Or a gush of momentum. It has not just been Lanning. Support staffer Nick Williams has played a role.
Kirby Smart has even gotten onto the playing field here with this guy.
Not gonna lie… I’m feeling that Georgia love ❤️. #GoDawgs
— Mekhail Sherman🌹 (@JuicedUpK9) January 11, 2019
When he visited last summer, the Bulldogs compared his skill set to what they deployed on the field in 2017 standout Davin Bellamy.
“Just how he rushed the edge and did a fabulous job off of it,” Sherman said. “But then also being a dropback guy who could produce doing that, too.”
Georgia has consistently established itself along with schools like Penn State and Ohio State and others as a factor in this recruitment.
— Mekhail Sherman🌹 (@JuicedUpK9) February 2, 2019
His top 7 schools have been established as Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Michigan Ohio State and Penn State.
“I’m not looking to go anywhere to be a star,” Sherman said last summer at The Opening. “Being a star would be great. I feel like I could be a star anywhere I go. I feel like I need someplace that will actually clamp down on me and make my abilities grow as a DE and as an OLB to make me better. Better all the time. To keep making me better to be the best that I can be. Not shine like a star.”
If it more like the school which will not allow him to fail.
“It is what type of school will make me the better person,” Sherman said. “Not just a football player only. Because right now I am still raw. I haven’t really cracked anything yet. My potential is still way up there. I still haven’t reached it yet. I need somewhere that can really push me to that limit.”
How the hybrid LB role sets up for Mekhail Sherman at UGA
I’d imagine that Smart and Lanning dream at night about lining up a defense with at least seven highly-adaptable players. Those are the defensive backs which can run and tackle but also flash ball skills with length.
If they had five guys like that, they wouldn’t care who was the nickel or who looked like safeties in their base packages.
Adaptability is an ability the Bulldogs hold in high regard. Those examples set by Anderson and Walker and Tindall last season will even reflect that at the LB spot.
Hybrids are a beautiful thing to big boy programs. That can lead to a 4-3 or a 5-2 front or even match wits with a hurry-up temp coordinator who would rather just sit pop off the reps with “00”, “01” or “10” or “11” personnel packages.
That’s rushing the passer. Dropping into the flats. Or covering the free receiver which might be the tight end. Those are the things which Khalil Mack and Von Miller are known for.
Sherman threw the power ball 44 feet at Nike Combine testing back in July. His work that day also included a 33.8-inch vertical leap.
He has long wanted to major in a branch of kinesiology in college. Sherman has long been very confident in Georgia’s academic prowess in that area.
It has been interesting to follow his career. Sherman does not take a lot of visits. That’s because he values his social time with those loved ones.
“That’s why you really will not see me going from school to school,” Sherman said. “I’ve always got to stay by my family. This is all for them. If I wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be in this position right now talking to you.”