DSU d-line in good hands with Sherrod

Gabe Sherrod

Gabe Sherrod

DOVER — Kenny Carter never coached Rodney Gunter.

But Carter has coached Gabe Sherrod for a few weeks.

And Delaware State’s new head coach likes what Sherrod can do.

So while losing an All-MidEastern Athletic Conference performer and NFL Draft pick like Gunter of course doesn’t help the Hornet defensive line, Carter thinks with Sherrod and a host of newcomers the line might be in good shape.

“I think Gabe Sherrod is a really good player for us,” Carter said. “He’s been doing some really good things.

“If we can continue to mature these freshman and put people in the right places, I think we can, not necessarily replace a fourth-round pick, but we accentuate what we have.”

Sherrod, a junior, was second on the team last season in sacks (5) and tackles for loss (7.5). He trailed just Gunter in both categories.

Gunter went on to be selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals and earned a sack for a safety in his preseason debut this past weekend.

While he’s not at DSU anymore, Gunter still inspires Sherrod. Sherrod spoke with Gunter after his preseason game Saturday to congratulate him.

“It’s good seeing somebody from a small school make it,” Sherrod said. “It’s awesome. That gives guys around us confidence, guys who have been around here a long time, and makes them want to step up there game to be good for Delaware State and if you can make it to the next level, God bless.”

Last year was Sherrod’s first season on the defensive line and he was one of the lone bright spots during a 2-10 season that ended up costing former coach Kermit Blount his job.

Sherrod was a tight end as a freshman, but Blount and his staff moved him over to defense for his sophomore year.

“I’m an athlete so I don’t expect myself to diminish in anywhere I’m put on the field,” Sherrod said. “Taking the coaching and working on my fundamentals has helped me become decent player on that side of the ball.”

Sherrod doesn’t expect any one player to replace Gunter’s productivity.

But the Hornets have other linemen ready to step in like senior Tarique Anderson and sophomore Josh Ealy. That duo each recorded a sack in last Saturday’s first scrimmage of camp.
Carter is hoping that an incoming freshman class which includes five defensive linemen can contribute right away.

“A guy like Rodney can’t be replaced,” Sherrod said. “That comes with the whole defensive line stepping up and being a force in the run game and in the passing game.”

Sherrod had a standout performance in Saturday’s scrimmage. He recovered two fumbles, returned one for a 70-yard touchdown and had two sacks.

But Sherrod wants to see even more improvement from the defensive line when the Hornets take the field for their final scrimmage, this upcoming Saturday at 8 a.m.

“We still have a long way to go,” he said. “We had a couple up and down days but we’re holding strong, taking the coaching and I’m confident that we will be ready.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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