GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jordan Sherit is no longer slowed by injuries and inexperience.
The Florida defensive end now serves as a full-time starter in his redshirt junior season. His health is a big reason why.
“No doubt it. My body feels better than it ever has,” Sherit said. “Year 2 under this coaching staff, I’m seeing the game a whole different way. The game has slowed down so much since I was a freshman.”
Sherit came to Florida already at a disadvantage. He tore his ACL as a high school senior and spent his first year at UF recovering from that injury. He played nine games in 2014, but another injury caused him to miss the rest of the season.
Sherit finally got healthy last year and saw action in 13 games, receiving four starts. It didn’t take long for him to get up to speed and grasp Florida’s defensive scheme.
“Jordan has obviously played a ton, but had that injury bug kind of hit him a couple times,” Gators coach Jim McElwain said. “His stability, his knowledge of the game and what we expect to be done through the discipline of his play is outstanding.”
Sherit had four tackles in the 24-7 win over UMass and set up a touchdown drive for the Gators. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Sherit beat a double team for a quarterback hurry and forced an incompletion on second-and-8.
On third down, UMass QB Ross Comis saw an opening up the middle and took off to scramble. Sherit, from his D-end position, spotted Ross on the run and tracked him down from behind after a 3-yard gain.
Florida scored on the following possession. Those kind of plays are what UF defensive line coach Chris Rumph wants to see from Sherit.
“The preparation,” Sherit said when asked where he’s made the biggest jump. “Just being able to watch film and kind of knowing what the play is before it even happens. … (Rumph) thinks I can kind of use my intelligence and know (what the) offense is before they even snap the ball.
“You don’t have to be super fast or super strong to have that. If you study the game and you’re a student of the game, then it makes it a lot easier for you.”
Despite his football knowledge, Sherit said you can never prepare enough. He’s trying to preach that to Florida’s first- and second-year players at his position.
“It’s one thing to kind of watch your own film,” Sherit said. “But also encourage the younger guys, the guys around you to do the same thing and affect those around you in a positive way. That’s something Coach Mac talks a lot about.”
UF has six underclassmen defensive ends on this year’s team. Rumph points them all in one direction.
“I tell the younger guys, all the defensive ends, ‘If you want to see how it’s done, if want to become really good, then study Jordan Sherit.’ He’s that guy,” Rumph said. “You look at him, he’s nothing flashy. His name doesn’t come up when you talk about the guys (on the) cover of the magazines.
“This guy just continues to make plays and just go to work. He’s a typical blue-collar guy and I love him to death. He’s healthy, which is important. He’s been around, he’s played a lot of snaps and he understands the game. He gets it.”