In terms of production, Jamien Sherwood is the top freshman safety in the nation.
That's according to analysis by Pro Football Focus, which ranked Auburn's true freshman from Jensen Beach, Florida, as the No. 1 freshman at the safety position with a minimum of 125 snaps played.
“Sherwood is a really, really smart guy,” Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said in early October. “He's a very good tackler, and he's physical — he's a big guy who's physical, plays with good balance and body control.”
Sherwood received an overall score of 89.8 — more than 10 points higher than Oregon's Jevon Holland, who came in second.
"On just 174 snaps this season, Sherwood has been absolutely dominant," said Pro Football Focus' Cam Mellor in his breakdown. "He’s been targeted six times as the primary coverage defender and allowed just 12 yards while making an interception and a pass breakup. He’s made 13 total tackles without missing one and Sherwood has recorded six defensive stops... leading this group is a feat in and of itself."
Fellow true freshman safety Smoke Monday also found himself represented in the top 10 at No. 7 with a grade of 75.8.
“Smoke is a good guy in terms of coverage,” Steele said in early October. “He’s got a lot of range, he’s a good blitzer. He plays the game with a high motor, and he’s still learning… but he’s very teachable, and he’s getting better every week.”
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Sherwood and Monday are second and third on the team, respectively, in tackles among freshmen. Steele noted in the spring that the two would be needed immediately in the secondary, and he expected them to make an immediate impact.
Monday's impact was felt quite immediately. The Atlanta product sacked Washington quarterback Jake Browning on fourth-and-long in the Tigers' season opener, sealing a dramatic victory. Sherwood was highlighted the next week with an interception against Alabama State.
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