Mekhail Sherman: Former teammate shares what UGA is getting in the elite 2020 signee
Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry shares a conversation with a high school teammate of Mekhail Sherman from this year. Sherman signed as part of the 2020 recruiting class which again wound up as the nation’s No. 1 class on the 247Sports Team Composite rankings.
Mekhail Sherman was rated as a 5-star recruit for almost his entire shelf life as a college football recruit.
The last 247Sports Composite saw his ranking dip to four stars. It meant he wound up as the nation’s No. 32 overall prospect for the 2020 cycle. Sherman now holds the distinction on that scale as the highest-rated 4-star prospect in the class.
That still slots the 230-pound standout as the nation’s no. 2 OLB prospect.
His 2019 season contained great intrigue. Sherman suffered a season-ending knee injury early in his junior season. It was something to monitor. The beauty of his game was in the way he was able to cover ground all over the field. Especially for a future college LB.
His recovery and comeback proved to be fierce. But he spent his senior year playing defensive end for a powerful St. John’s College program in the Washington D.C. metro area.
The focus was on getting back on the field first. Getting back to helping his team. But there was also the challenge of getting back to being the player he used to be.
There were many times where Sherman looked like a one-man wrecking crew on his sophomore film. He had 18 tackles for losses and seven sacks among his 51-tackle year.
Check it out below.
That was the momentum season for his time as a recruit. The Bulldogs offered him on his birthday in February after that season. He qualified for The Opening. While he was there, his laser time in the 40 turned just about every head there given his size and position.
Sherman was in the 220-pound range then. Clocking 4.5s in his laser 40. It meant he dashed alongside all the elite skill guys in the “Fastest Man” Challenge. That simply does not happen.
Georgia’s Nolan Smith was at the Opening that week. He didn’t even qualify for those “Fastest Man” heats.
Sherman did. At this time a year ago, the 2020 Georgia signee was busy narrowing his decision down to Georgia and Ohio State.
He visited Georgia for G-Day and committed to the Bulldogs less than three weeks after that trip. Sherman wound up being a one-man linebacker recruiting class for the program in 2020.
“MJ” can certainly plug-and-play at either LB spot for the Bulldogs. Sherman did see a lot of reps at ILB at the Under Armour All-American Game earlier this year.
Sherman finished that contest with six tackles. That tied him for the second-best total from all the All-Americans in that game. He had five solo stops. It also proved for the second-highest game total in that category.
The Baltimore native also tied for the game-high total with his two tackles for losses.
He said after the game that he had something to prove that night. The future “Wolfpack” member wanted to show everyone how he could still make plays for the LB spot.
That said, his overall athleticism lends itself to being out on the edge as a “Jack” in Georgia’s odd front.
Do you believe in stars? Or is the game film a better arbiter? Do the words of a teammate matter more while assessing what Sherman can be at the college level?
If so, the scouting report for 2021 4-star recruit Taize Johnson provides an interesting view on Sherman.
Maryland commit Taize Johnson on Mekhail Sherman
What does Johnson feel Georgia is getting in Sherman?
“Definitely a natural leader,” Johnson said. “Leadership comes easily to him. Guys just gravitate towards him. He has real positive energy and a positive spirit all the time. This year, we had a rough patch. Losing four games straight. But he was always steadfast on us. Telling us this isn’t our best football yet. That it wasn’t the end for us. Always being positive. He’s a very positive guy.”
Sherman felt some natural frustration during fall camp getting ready for his return to the field. He had to wait 10 very long months for his clearance to return to the field from that knee injury.
“I was able to imagine how hard it was for him,” Johnson said. “He was frustrated early on in camp. I can understand what it was like playing at such speed before the injury. But I felt like as the season progressed that speed just naturally came back. I saw the old Sherman. Just him being positive all the time.”
DawgNation estimates that Sherman was probably at about 75-to-85 percent of his former self during Under Armour All-American week. He was on a practice field covered with elite talent and he only looked like one of many All-Americans out there at times.
“Sherm” spent some time trying to get his knee brace right.
When he’s all the way back, he will be hard to miss. Even on a field filled with elite talent.
That estimate seems logical given the timelines it takes for an elite athlete to return from that type of knee injury. It also falls in line with what Johnson saw, too.
“I honestly give him about 80 percent,” Johnson said of what he saw from Sherman in 2019. “I feel like this off-season with him going into Georgia he will be back to top shape by next year.”
That will also explain what the recruiting industry saw that week when they dropped him from his long-time standing among the nation’s top 20 prospects to the No. 32 overall ranking.
Sherman, even at less than his best, was still an elite high school football prospect.
“I feel he is going to make an impact early at Georgia,” Johnson said. “Even if he doesn’t get as much playing time, I feel like his presence is going to be known. From the time he steps on campus people are going to know who he is, know who he is about and they will know he is not about any games.”
There was a game last fall with St. Joe’s Prep that Johnson said he will always remember. That was the same St. Joe’s Prep program that D’Andre Swift starred for in high school.
“That was a game where anyone could see that our sideline was down,” Johnson said. “He just said to forget what the coaches are saying. Forget the scoreboard. Forget about us not playing at home. Forget about everybody being hurt or banged up. It was just right now about us. He was just letting us know that we could do this and we were still in that game. He said for all of us to not worry about anyone else but to focus on ourselves and do our own job. He said that was how we were going to get back in that game.”
“He just really kept people on task when they were down.”
St. Joe’s Prep had its own sideline full of elite prospects that night. That game was played at Rutgers University. Sherman and his Cadets eventually lost that night by a 34-30 margin.
Mekhail Sherman: His own words
That knee injury happened, like most do, on a fluke. But this was a few first downs farther than just that. His knee joint was leg-whipped by his own teammate.
He suffered a completely torn anterior cruciate ligament and partial lateral meniscus tear.
“The knee and what it will do to you really all that has done is given me more fuel to my fire,” Sherman said after G-Day a year ago. “You can love the game so much but the game will cheat you. It cheated me. I got leg-whipped by my own teammate. My ACL was torn. But all that it did was I had to sit back.”
“Then I had to talk to God. I had to talk to family and realize why I do this. I had to revert back to why I do this. Now, this injury will not only touch you physically but also touch you mentally. All I have been doing is going through these trials and tribulations between physical, mental and spiritual ways to get stronger. So when I get back on that field there is no turning back.”
“MJ” gave one of the most unique answers imaginable when asked what was his “why” for playing the game of football. His answer covered 700 words and was transcribed verbatim by DawgNation last spring.
It should serve as key reference material as to why Georgia valued him so highly in the 2020 class.
Sherman will be a great candidate to be a team captain at UGA during his time in Athens. He proved to be a behind-the-scenes anchor for the 2020 recruiting class.
He’s just wired to lead. The future Bulldog has had great family support coming up. It has lead to a maturity that goes beyond his years to this point.
As an Athlete, 1 out of the 3 will suffer: Social Life, Education, Your Athletic Career.
— Mekhail Sherman🌹 (@JuicedUpK9) January 25, 2019
Want to see for yourself what Sherman is all about? Check out his extended interview with DawgNation from the Under Armour All-American Game Media Day” session in late December below.