Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Eskimos Linebacker J.C. Sherritt Makes the Most of His Football Opportunities

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Eskimos Linebacker J.C. Sherritt Makes the Most of His Football Opportunities

Article excerpt

Sherritt named CFL's top defensive player

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TORONTO - Someone at Eastern Washington University knows their football.

The Eastern Washington Eagles, located in Cheney, Wash., were the only U.S. school to offer J.C. Sherritt a scholarship. Today the pocket-sized Edmonton Eskimos linebacker stands as the Most Outstanding Defensive Player in the CFL after making a league-record 130 tackles this season.

Sherritt had scholarship interest from Montana State, Idaho and Eastern Washington but the first two never make him an offer.

"Thank goodness Eastern Washington did offer," he said Thursday night after winning his CFL award. "And as soon as they did, I accepted."

The 24-year-old Sherritt beat out Montreal Alouettes linebacker Shea Emry, drawing 49-of-57 votes from the CFL coaches and members of the football Reporters of Canada.

The Eskimos signed him as a free agent in April 2011, with Sherritt pointing to head scout Ed Hervey for helping him find a home in Edmonton.

"It's been a blessing to be there, that's for sure," he said.

Just five foot nine and 218 pounds, Sherritt erased the single-season tackle record of 129 set by Toronto's Calvin Tiggle in 1994.

The native of Pullman, Wash., also had three special teams tackles, forced three fumbles, three sacks, two knockdowns, one fumble recovery and five interceptions.

Sherritt won defensive player of the month honours in July, August, and September, as well as being named defensive player of the week four times.

But he was unable to help the Eskimos in the East semifinal, coming out the day of the game at the Rogers Centre in a walking cast due to a nagging ankle injury.

The award does not make up for the pain of missing that Nov. 11 game.

"Not really," Sherritt said.

"It's an honour and I don't want to act like it's nothing to me," he said of the award. "But obviously it's all about a (championship) ring, especially (in) Edmonton. Every day I walk in, I see the Grey Cup champion banners. Those teams and those guys, they live forever. …

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