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Sprayberry preaches Sermon’s skills

By Adam Carrington, Marietta Daily Journal, 08/08/15, 12:26AM EDT


Sprayberry preaches Sermon’s skills

Sprayberry preaches Sermon’s skills
by Adam Carrington
August 08, 2015 12:26 AM | 1664 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Although it won’t be until this season that he becomes a starter, Sprayberry running back Trey Sermon already has offers from a Who’s Who of colleges.
<BR>Special photo by Ted Mayer
Although it won’t be until this season that he becomes a starter, Sprayberry running back Trey Sermon already has offers from a Who’s Who of colleges. 
Special photo by Ted Mayer
Running back Trey Sermon may only be a junior, and he has yet to become a steady starter for Sprayberry, but he already has offers from more than 20 colleges.

Sermon did see ample playing time for the Yellow Jackets (6-4) last season behind Rakeem Myricks, who has since graduated. He managed 409 yards and eight touchdowns, which was good enough season for Sprayberry recruiting coordinator Antwan Toomer to make a highlight reel and send it off to colleges.

And schools from coast to coast — Stanford, Ohio State and Michigan have offered Sermon, as have much of the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences — saw enough talent and potential to extend an offer.

According to Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Sermon is built to plow his way through defensive lines and has enough breakaway speed to gain significant yardage one he’s in open space.

“He’s a unique back,” Shackelford said of the Marietta Daily Journal Dynamite Dozen selection. “He has breakaway speed, strength and power to run by you and run through you. He’s also young, and a kid that size, they have a great opportunity to grow and mature. He’s very athletic, and he can become one of our best offensive players and defensive players.”

It’s a skill Sermon started developing when he was 7, and a skill he started taking seriously at 12 when he discovered he had the ability to make opposing tacklers miss. 

As a backup to Myricks last season, Sermon did a variety of things that should help him get acclimated to the starter’s role quickly. He was a solid blocker and often used his size and strength to help Sprayberry get clutch yards needed to help extend drives. 

“He came in and played his role and he really shined,” Shackelford said. “The youngster took advantage of his opportunities. He got his reps as a sophomore and I expect him to have a great junior season.” 

As an understudy to Myricks, who rushed for 1,136 yards and scored 16 touchdowns last season, Sermon also picked up on a couple of things that will help him become a better ball-carrier.

“I learned that you have to react (when carrying the ball) instead of thinking too much,” Sermon said. “If you think too much, you’ll mess up. You just have to react and go 100 percent.”

As a student of the game, there are other areas Sermon said he is trying to improve upon. He’s working on his lateral movement and keeping his head forward. Last season, he had the tendency to run standing straight up.

Sermon also talked about staying within his frame while carrying the ball, instead of making wide cuts.

Most importantly, though, is Sermon’s goal is to be a 1,000-yard back at the end of his junior season and have the Yellow Jackets in the state playoffs for the first time since 2011. Losses to Kell and Sequoyah to end the 2014 season took Sprayberry out of contention after it won six straight games.

“I’m looking forward to stepping up in a leadership role,” Sermon said. “I feel I’m ready to take on this role and do the best I can for my teammates.”