Jamien Sherwood, a ‘one-of-a-kind’ NFL draft prospect
A moment of Jamien SherwoodTim Caffey’s high school career has been one for coach Tim Caffey, it is when he lined up for three positions in one game.
Jensen Beach (Florida) was playing Heritage. Sherwood started on the defensive end. As the quarterback examined the defense, Sherwood took cover. By the time the ball was broken, he had gradually hit the linebacker.
Caffey didn’t ask his star player to do this. Sherwood said, “Coach, I know what I’m doing”, before running onto the field, and he did – the senior intercepted a pass on that play.
“We’re still laughing about it,” Caffey said of the Heritage coach. Mark Ainsley told his players: “Don’t go far from 7.” But Sherwood was everywhere.
Soon, he hopes, he’ll be in the NFL. Sherwood is widely screened to hear his name called draft this week after three good seasons for Auburn football. He thinks he is a “one of a kind” prospect.
NFL PROJECT 2021:Screenings for Jamien Sherwood from Auburn, others
Caffey has a dozen more stories to back him up.
“You have these players who come once in a lifetime or once every 10 to 15 years, and Jamien is one of those kids,” he said. “He’s a Jensen Beach legend.”
• Caffey has been a coach for 25 years. Sherwood was the first freshman to start college for him, and he did so in his first game. He played two positions and intercepted a pass.
• Sherwood was restricted in practice once due to injury. The coaches kept him in a helmet and shoulder pads because they didn’t want him to make contact.
At one point, however, they heard a noise – “WHAM!” – it made them turn their heads. It was the sound of Sherwood attacking someone.
“He was going all out,” Caffey said.
The coaches therefore made him remove his shoulder pads and stand on the sideline. He only waited a few minutes before sneaking onto the pitch to punch someone else. It made the same noise even without pads.
• The 2015 season ended on a bitter note. Jensen Beach lost a key district game that kept him out of the playoffs. Caffey told the players to take some time. He didn’t want to see them again until Thursday.
On Monday, the coach arrived at school before sunrise. As he passed the stadium, he saw Sherwood running up the stairs in the dark.
• Sherwood played almost every position in high school: safety, linebacker, defensive end, wide receiver, running back and wild quarterback, sometimes all in the same game.
When a coach from Indiana saw this during the spring game entering his senior year, he told Caffey, “This kid could be the best all-around, all-around athlete in the country.
One thing Sherwood didn’t do was fire the punts. That is, until Jensen Beach gets tied up late and needs a spark. Sherwood said to Caffey, “Don’t worry about that, I have this.” The first time he fielded a punt, he broke several tackles en route to score the touchdown that resulted in a victory.
This type of play continued in Auburn. Sherwood was a regular contributor from day one. Pro Football Focus gave him the best freshman safety in the country in 2018. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said he “could be one of the best tacklers I’ve ever seen”.
In his lone season as a starter, the junior totaled 75 tackles, three tackles for a loss, one sack and three break-ups. At Pro Day, the 6-foot-2, 216-pound safety was measured as having 34-inch arms – apparently the longest for a defensive back in 15 years.
Sherwood shouldn’t be drafted until day three. Teams can’t seem to decide whether to stay safe (where his 4.75-40-yard scorecard is slow) or move on to linebacker (where he would need to add weight).
But that’s the pessimist’s take on Sherwood. Caffey takes the optimist’s point of view: if there are questions about the position should to play, that does not mean that he could play both?
“It’s a one-of-a-kind type of security,” Caffey said.