Spotlight Story: Florida Defensive End Jordan Sherit
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Spotlight Story: Florida Defensive End Jordan Sherit

People like Jordan have a certain energy about them that many cannot understand.

Spotlight Story: Florida Defensive End Jordan Sherit
Gator Country

The life of a student-athlete is far from easy.

A typical day for Jordan Sherit starts when it’s still dark outside. He wakes up for either a 7 A.M. lift or meetings, followed by class from 9:35-1:25, meetings again from 2:00-3:30, practice from 3:30-5:30 and treatment for an hour after practice. After that, the energy he has left is dedicated to homework and film study.

Despite its difficulty, Jordan has continuously executed the role of student-athlete. He has always had a certain uniqueness that sets him apart as he knows how to handle the pressure on the field, yet he continually puts the pressure on himself when it comes to school and grades.

For instance, prior to his collegiate career, Jordan graduated from a magnet school in Tampa, Florida, Hillsborough High School, where he attained excellence both on and off the field. Sherit gained a 5.2 GPA in Hillsborough’s IB program while also being a star player on the football field.

When I asked him about the driving force that pushed him on the field and in the classroom, Jordan explained:“It was something my parents instilled in me at an early age. Academics always came first — no grades, no football. That didn't change when I started to earn scholarships.”

“My stepdad, he raised me like I was his own son; there was nothing different about it. I owe my mom and my (step) dad everything. They’re the best parents I could ever ask for, and I am the man I am today because of them,” Sherit says.

Throughout his time at Florida, Sherit has demonstrated his intellect by going above and beyond as a student. As a finance major, Jordan has maintained above a 3.0 GPA while also dedicating almost five hours a day to football. He doesn’t just try to get by; rather, he aims to excel in Florida’s esteemed Business program.

Florida’s Heavener School of Business at the Warrington College of Business is continually recognized on the national level for its academic excellence. In U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2016,” the Heavener School, Florida’s undergraduate business school, is ranked 18th among public undergraduate business schools nationwide.

To maintain above a 3.0 GPA as a student-athlete, as Sherit has done, you have to be relentlessly driven – it’s as simple as that. People like Jordan have a certain energy about them that many cannot understand. Jordan knew what he was getting himself into as he journeyed into this top University – the major commitment that a Division 1 sport requires as well as the level of intensity that his major demands.

But the question is: Why does he continue to pursue football if his intellect can carry him just as far?

As revealed in his academic successes, it’s obvious that Jordan always takes the difficult route. He didn’t have to go to an IB program in high school or graduate with a 5.2 GPA. He doesn’t have to push himself to the extent that he does in his classes and on the field. He doesn’t have to pursue the NFL with the kind of intellect that he has been gifted with. But, this is the kind of drive that is engrained in Jordan. It’s who he is.

Given his relentless pursuit of the game, football has not been the smoothest of paths for Sherit. It all started at the height of his career as a senior at Hillsborough High. Beginning his senior season at a solid 235-pounds, Sherit accomplished a team-high of six sacks and maintained 21 tackles in only five games. The fifth game against Jefferson is one that Jordan will never forget as his road to recovery began. During a play in the fourth quarter, Jordan tore his ACL in his left knee and was out for the season. He struggled with this new reality for only a short period time before focusing on his future at the University of Florida.

His freshmen year at Florida was a wake up call for him, however. Jordan counted on playing, but his high school injury stepped in the way, forcing him to redshirt.

“It was tougher than I thought it would be just because I wanted to be with the team. I didn’t know that not everyone travels. So when the team travels to an away game, and you have to sit in your dorm, that’s not a good feeling,” he expressed.

As a student-athlete myself (and one who also didn’t travel my freshmen year), I understand the mental and emotional struggle that comes with the lack of competing. As an athlete, when you don’t have the opportunity to bond with the team in a competition environment, you unquestionably feel like an outsider.

For example, when traveling to an away game, everyone on the team bonds, even those who typically don’t interact with one another at practice. For someone who doesn’t travel, it’s very difficult to feel that unity when you simply aren’t on the same relationship level as everyone else on the team.

Despite this unforeseen hurdle along his path, Jordan decided to make the mature decision to fully commit to his team. He focused on rehabbing his knee and gave one-hundred percent in the weight room and on the field.

“I think it was when Coach Mac’s staff came here that I was able to put in the work in the weight room and the training room; I think that was kind of my breakthrough… Their faith in me re-instilled some passion, because when you’ve been hurt and haven’t played in a while, it’s hard to get back on it… Preparation met opportunity,” Sherit said.

Jordan went on to play nine games in the 2014 season, totaling three tackles and a pass breakup. Last season, Sherit completed thirteen games (four of which he started), while totaling 25 tackles and one-and-a-half sacks. His accomplishments don’t stop there – Jordan was also selected to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2015.

Former Gators cornerback, Vernon Hargreaves III, highlighted one of Jordan’s biggest qualities: his resiliency

“He’s had to deal with injuries and was never affected by it,” Hargreaves told Gator Country. “He’s also one of the smartest guys I know on the field and off.”

Defensive Line Coach, Chris Rumph, echoes Hargreaves’ statement: “I tell all the younger guys, all the defensive ends, I say, ‘If you want to see how it’s done, if you want to become really good, then study Jordan Sherit. He’s that guy… He understands the game. He gets it.’”

When asking Jordan about the motivator that keeps him so driven, he replied: “This is a tough question because I'm not sure that there is one specific thing that drives me. It's just who I am. It's how I was raised. I'm just fortunate to have had amazing people in my corner.”

For someone who has known Jordan since high school, I have always observed that his individuality is the driving force to his success; he has his priorities straight and nothing will get in the way of them. Girls and parties have never been a main concern of his. School has always come first and football remains a close second.

After college, Jordan’s main ambition is to play in the NFL.

“Playing in the NFL is something I've always wanted to do since I was a kid. Also, it's the highest level of competition in my sport. Playing at that level is the ultimate goal,” Jordan explains.

However, if that doesn’t work out, his intelligence along with a business degree from the University of Florida will certainly carry him a long way. He explained that his secondary pursuit would be to open up his own business.

“I could be interested in opening up some type of wealth management firm and specialize in helping athletes,” says Sherit. He explained that he simply wants to help out the guys that he has been so closely tied to for so long.

“But for now, I’m still a college kid,” he laughs.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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