Sherritt makes an impression with Eskimos

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:44 AM ET

EDMONTON - J.C. Sherritt was cut the morning after the the final pre-season game.

“I thought I was prepared to get cut. There were a lot of great players here. But when I was called down to get the talk, it was pretty tough,” he said.

Other guys were getting cut by head coach Kavis Reed. Sherritt was surprised to see he was getting cut by head scout Ed Hervey.

“He said ‘We’re releasing you, but we still want you to stay around.’ ”

The next day, Sherritt was placed on the practice roster.

“Then when I came in at the start of the week, I just came in for the defensive meetings and looked at the chart and, whoa, I was starting. I wasn’t going to say anything. I was just going to keep quiet and be happy.”

J.C. Sherritt not only started he registered a league-high 11 tackles on the opening weekend of the CFL season and made another tackle on special teams for good measure.

From being cut to practice roster to starting to starring!

All in one week.

“It’s the kind of roster moves we had to make to get everybody we needed through,” said defensive co-ordinator Rich Stubler.

“In the CFL, when it comes to cuts and the practice roster, you have to piddle with it. But we’d made the decision. He was going to be our starter at that ‘Will’ linebacker spot, the same spot Willie Pless played here. Willie used to get a ton of tackles, too. He could tackle well.”

J.C Sherritt, you should know, is only 5’10.

“But Willie was only 5’10”, too,” said Stubler. “Size doesn’t matter if you can make plays. The best thing about J.C. is he finds a way to make plays.

“He was the Big Sky Conference defensive player of the year and his team won the national title,” he said of the NCAA level one below the football factory schools.

“To tell you the truth, I’m kinda excited for him,” said Stubler of the 23-year-old from Truckee, Calif., who grew up in Pullman, Wash.

“It’s fun to have a small-town kid that nobody believes in and watch him grow into maybe a great football player. He’s one of those kids who was always told he can’t do something. He doesn’t have the size to play in the NFL, but he has the nose and instincts and athleticism and speed to have a great career in the CFL.

“He’s a football player!

“I’m really pulling for him.”

There are too many new players on this team to get to know them all at once, but J.C. Sherritt was the first rookie to offer a real wowzer, yowzer how-do-you-do.

J.C. won’t says what the initials stand for, which, I guess, is reasonable if your mom and dad named you Julius Caesar Sherritt or something.

“I’ve got to keep that a secret. I don’t give it up,” he said.

It’s been an adventure since he piled in the back seat of a car with third year Eskimo defensive lineman Greg Peach behind the wheel and rookie Eskimo quarterback Matt Nichols riding shotgun. The three are Eastern Washington alumni who were all on the same team one year.

“Peach accidentally made a wrong turn and got lost for about three hours in the mountains,” he reported of the trip up from Spokane.

Gloriously lost, in Sherritt’s opinion.

And then to discover Commonwealth Stadium and $125 million in improvements at the end of the journey …

“I’m blown away with everything, including Edmonton. I’m from a small town. I love this city already.

“It’s definitely been an experience,” he said.

“To play my first preseason game in Saskatchewan and then my first regular season game too … I’ve never experienced changing weather conditions like they had over there.

“First there was the wind in the pre-season game. I’ve never played in wind like that.

“And then Sunday I was out and running around pre-game and it’s 95-degree weather, then I’m walking out for the start of the game and I’m seeing golf balls come down. That was something new, hail like that.”

But the big thing was getting used to the speed.

“Man, you’ve got to be able to run. And run fast. And run a lot. I really enjoy the way this game is played. But I’ve got to get in better shape. I had a pretty good game in the first half but I could have played better in the second. I need better conditioning,” he said.

Stubler laughs.

“He’s in great shape. He was on both kickoff and return teams. I think we had eight kickoffs and six returns. Plus 50-some defensive plays. That adds up.”

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terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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