This one came about after a superlative recruiting effort by lead recruiter Dan Lanning. That effort to bring in a player from the Washington D.C. metro area stretched across years. Not months.
It really got going when the Bulldogs offered Sherman last year on his 16th birthday. It does seem a bit fortuitous now to look back at that moment.
Sherman will be the fifth linebacker with a 5-star rating on the 247Sports Composite rating to join the Georgia program since the 2018 recruiting cycle.
It has been a while since a man named Sherman coming to Georgia got this much attention.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound rising senior will return this fall from an ACL injury which wiped out his junior season. That’s why he has told DawgNation he plans to bypass all All-American and off-season camps to focus on his senior year.
“MJ” can play either ILB or OLB, but he’s seen at the outset as another edge defender. He will definitely have the speed for it. Sherman made the “Fastest Man Challenge” at the Opening national finals last summer in Texas.
The nation’s No. 2 OLB prospect for 2020 was a rare junior invited to that event. Sherman was consistently clocked on the laser in the low to mid-4.5 in the 40.
Quick hits: The things to know about Mekhail Sherman
Sherman can play. Obviously. But there have been a few things that have become apparent while reporting his story that set him apart from many elite recruits.
- He prays for his teammates AND his opponents before games.
- Why? Because maybe he doesn’t know what he’s about to do to those guys in the other jerseys.
- When he watches football, he pays little mind to the offenses and basically roots for both defenses to get stops.
- His faith in God drives him. He is not afraid to share that.
DawgNation asked Sherman a simple question recently. His answer would go on for almost four full minutes.
There’s probably no better way to show what Sherman is about than to publish his full answer to that question. The best visual to that upcoming read might be this post which Sherman recently shared to his Instagram account.
He is committed to something greater than himself. For real.
View this post on Instagram
The true passion of Mekhail Sherman
Why does he play football?
When asked that question, Sherman did not skip out on that interview rep.
“I would say……,” Sherman said as he started off. “That 25 percent of it is for the love of the game. 75 percent of it is it is the best way out for me.”
“For my family and everything like that. I play football to put my family on a better pedestal and provide a better opportunity where they can succeed. I also play football so I can make my family proud. [Football] is the most legal way and the fastest route for me to become wealthy rather than rich.”
“My future plan is when right before I die I can then gauge whether life has succeeded for me or I have exceeded my life’s goal. Which is to never have any of my family to starve or be hungry or to desire anything they want or need. I want the bellies of my grandbabies to always be full. I will have wanted the bellies of my babies to always be full. I want to see the bellies of all the people who have really supported me coming up to always have their bellies full.”
“I’m not talking about just food there. I’m talking about the necessary assets they all need to prosper in life. To be spiritually, emotionally and physically full in life. I’m not just talking about all those monetary reasons there with that. I’m talking about all around them in their lives.
“I’m talking about all I can do with my pedestal of football and my stature that this game may bring me if I earn it and work for it. I’m going to use that football to make the lives of everyone around me happy. So we can be just one big happy family from generation to generation and generations on down.”
“Football can make my pockets deep and fat but that’s so that I can support my people and everyone around me in my family. There will be no worries. There will be no stress. Life will flow freely from God so we all can be successful in our lives as much as we can.”
There was a point there where Sherman took a slight breath. But maybe one in the span of a hiccup. The above text thread was devoid of the typical “you know” phrases that will accompany anyone — young athletes included — when they respond with a lengthy answer to any question.
Much less any answer which runs 20 sentences long. Yet with that half-breath, Sherman was off again.
“Now granted when I say this, I know it will not all be about sunshine. I know that adversity will hit. But it won’t be that bad. It won’t be as bad as my adversity that I went through when I was young. It will not be as bad for them as when my sister was young. It won’t be as bad for my family as when my mother was young. Those are all tools for me to see how life is supposed to be and how it is not supposed to be.”
“Life is not all supposed to be Prairie Dogs, prairie fields, daffodils, flowers, love and sunshine. But life is not also all supposed to be ‘Where is my next meal going to come’ or ‘I’m in an alley and I’ve got to be sure to look over my shoulder because I am in dark place by myself’ and the game of football will be to take away that fear and that danger. Life should be just about looking up to God and realizing you are safe, that you are protected and you should have nothing that you would really need or want. Do you know what I mean there? That we will all feel that we are loved?”
“I think that I can do that if I maximize my stature and this pedestal I could have through football. Football can bring me to these doors, but I have to open them. God will bring me to that door through football and I have to do the work to open it. That is what is going on here. God has given me those opportunities through [scholarship] offers and stuff like that. I’m doing the work now to open them.”
“He gave me these offers. The offers were the doors. Here’s a door. Here’s a door. Here’s a door. Here’s a door. Now, it is on me to do the work, to do what is expected to open those doors. That’s how I feel. That is what drives me.”
“I just want everyone in my life to be successful in life. That is my why.”
Sherman made a few other comments. But then came back to add the following post-script to his previous 700-word answer.
“And also if I have a chance to help give back to my community here as well,” Sherman said. “I’ll do whatever I need to stop the violence in Baltimore. Do whatever I need to stop all of the poverty in Baltimore. Because obviously, my government is not doing enough. My Mayor is not doing enough. The politics in the city is not doing enough. So if I ever have a chance to help do that, I will do that.”
His knee injury came from an unfortunate leg whip from a teammate. When it happened, there were some dark days. It did test him mentally and spiritually. Not just physically.
“But when it did, I just had to revert back to my why,” Sherman said.