Last weekend, Jamien Sherwood sat in an office with his mother, Gus Malzahn and Kristi Malzahn.
It was a fairly standard coach-family conversation in the head coach’s office. Sherwood was on his third Auburn visit since the spring game. The Malzahns and the Sherwoods sat in the Tigers’ athletic complex, having what was a mostly non-football conversation.
Until the 3-star safety from Jensen Beach, Fla., turned it toward his recruitment.
His original plan had been to wait until National Signing Day. He didn’t want to tell anyone until then, including his mother. But as he assessed his options further, Sherwood wanted to make sure to claim a spot at his college of choice earlier rather than later.
So, much to the surprise of everyone in the room but himself, Sherwood announced he wanted to be a Tiger. He told the Auburn coaching staff he was committing.
On Tuesday, Sherwood made his commitment public — through a video with TCPalm.com — to become the 11th member of Auburn’s 2018 class.
“As I was walking away from the school this weekend, I was just so excited on the inside. I’d just committed. I never knew what it would feel like. Now I just don’t have to do anymore thinking. I got a spot at my college. It just feels great to not have to worry anymore,” Sherwood said. “Everyone was ecstatic.”
Sherwood’s top 4 included Auburn, Florida, Michigan and Oregon.
Ultimately, the decision came down to a “neck-and-neck” race between the Tigers and the Gators. They were the only members of his top group who he’d visited more than once, and he’d been to both campuses three times.
But Auburn inched ahead with every passing visit.
His first came by chance when a scheduling issue with Tennessee sent Sherwood and his coaches to Auburn for the spring game. Sherwood told SEC Country on Monday night that it was on that visit he “felt like it was home,” but it was only his first time on campus. He wanted to return for reassurances.
His mother and brother joined for the second visit for Big Cat Weekend. Sherwood said on the 8-hour drive back to Jensen Beach he was “pretty sure” he’d commit to Auburn one day.
All he needed was the final trip for the weekend cookout to solidify any doubts that Auburn was his choice — and he didn’t need to wait.
“This past weekend really kinda sealed the deal. This past weekend just sealed the deal for me. I just knew that I want to go there,” Sherwood said. “It was a hard decision for me to choose from those two schools. Those were my top schools (Auburn and Florida). Those two were neck-and-neck. Besides the football part, I just felt like I could be at Auburn more. That’s what separated Florida and Auburn. They were my top two, and they were right there.”
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Floridian projects as a safety for Auburn, though he plays in all three facets for his high school.
Sherwood joins Quindarious Monday and Kolbi Fuqua as the three additions at safety, perhaps the biggest need in the Tigers’ class. Sherwood’s relationship with Kevin Steele and Greg Brown blossomed quickly. He saw their track record with defensive backs and Auburn’s need at the position.
If he needed any extra reason to choose the Tigers, the depth chart availability provided it.
“With their lack of depth at safety, me getting on the field shouldn’t be a problem. They said since I’m graduating early, I can come in January and start putting the work in, gaining weight, learn all the defense,” Sherwood said. “The rest is up to me.”
With Sherwood’s commitment, Auburn moves to No. 30 in the 247Sports composite team rankings.