Tennessee first to offer top Georgia talent but Athens visit coming up
Jashawn Sheffield has his first scholarship offer. It certainly won’t be his last.
Tennessee was the first school to extend an offer to the 2019 prospect. Yes, he’s a high school freshman. Yet his underclassman status didn’t overshadow his talent.
Sheffield received his first scholarship offer during his visit to Knoxville this weekend. Running backs coach Robert Gillespie gave him the good news.
“I was speechless,” the standout from Frederica Academy (St. Simons Island, Ga.) told SEC Country. “When he said he was going to offer me, I just wanted to thank God for having the opportunity and the tools that I have to get this offer. I want to thank coach for seeing something in me to get my first offer.”
The exchange was simple but profound.
“He said, ‘Do you have any offers?’” the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Sheffield said. “I said, ‘No sir.’ He said, ‘Well we’re going to offer you today,’”
Tennessee’s willingness to extend the first scholarship offer to Sheffield has the Vols on top.
“They’re at the top since they offered me first. They gave me my first offer,” he said. “I’m speechless. I don’t even know what to say. My mom was crying. I almost cried.”
Sheffield said he’s also being recruited by Ole Miss, UGA and Florida State. He said he grew up rooting for the Seminoles and Bulldogs. Sheffield said he plans to visit Athens this weekend and is no hurry to make his college decision.
Sheffield is most often thought of as a receiver prospect, but that could change. He ran for 753 yards and reeled in 363 receiving yards with 14 touchdowns this season. Sheffield also plays safety, and Georgia is evaluating him as a defensive player. However, Sheffield likens himself to LSU’s star running back Leonard Fournette.
“He’s going to be big,” his coach, Alex Mathis, said. “His dad is about 6-2, 220 (pounds). That’s what his focus is now is gaining weight. His favorite player is Leonard Fournette. That’s who he likes to model everything after.”
The Vols have plenty of time to evaluate Sheffield. Right now, they envision him lining up in the backfield, according to what Gillespie had to say on Saturday.
“He told him that he wants the ball in his hands, kind of like (Tennessee running back) Jalen Hurd,” Mathis said. “Spread him out in the backfield, use him in the slot. They see him as someone that can be a game-changer with the ball in his hands. It’s early on but he’s definitely a D-1 talent.”
Gillespie also had some important advice for Sheffield. Even with an offer in hand, this isn’t the time to relax.
“He gave me a hug and told me I’m going to do some big things and keep up the good work and don’t give up,” Sheffield said. “Don’t let this offer slow me down and think that I have it good. Just keep working and get more.”
Sheffield’s attitude should be considered a bonus.
“Overall great team player,” Mathis said. “Always willing to uplift others and go the extra mile to make sure his teammates are being pushed. As a freshman he’s doing a lot of great things that you see in upperclassmen.
“He has a very bright future ahead of him.”
Tennessee’s coaches agree.