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One of the moments from Jamien Sherwood’s high school career that stands out most to coach Tim Caffey was the time he lined up at three positions on one play.

Jensen Beach (Fla.) was playing Heritage. Sherwood started at defensive end. As the quarterback surveyed the defense, Sherwood dropped to safety. By the time the ball was snapped, he had inched up to linebacker.

Caffey didn’t ask his star player to do that. Sherwood said, "Coach, I know what I’m doing,” before jogging onto the field, and he did — the senior intercepted a pass on that play.

“We still laugh about this,” Caffey said of Heritage’s coach. Mark Ainsley told his players “Don’t go anywhere near 7.” But Sherwood was everywhere.

After three strong seasons at Auburn, Sherwood is widely projected to hear his name called during this week’s NFL Draft.

“I like to think of myself as unique, one of a kind,” Sherwood said.

Caffey has a dozen more stories that back it up.

“You have those players who come around once in a lifetime or once every 10-15 years, and Jamien is one of those kids,” he said. “He’s a Jensen Beach legend.”

• Caffey has been coaching for 25 years. Sherwood was the first freshman who ever started on varsity for him, and he did it in his first game. He played two positions and intercepted a pass.

• Sherwood was limited in practice once because of injuries. Coaches kept him in a helmet and shoulder pads because they didn’t want him taking contact.

At some point, though, they heard a noise — “WHAM!” — that caused them to turn their heads. It was the sound of Sherwood tackling someone.

“He was going full blast,” Caffey said.

So coaches made him take off his shoulder pads and stand on the sideline. He waited only a few minutes before sneaking back onto the field to hit someone else. It made the same noise even without pads on.

• The 2015 season ended on a sour note. Jensen Beach lost a key district game that kept it out of the playoffs. Caffey told players to take some time off. He didn’t want to see them again until Thursday.

On Monday, the coach arrived at the school before the sun rose. As he walked past the stadium, he saw Sherwood running stairs in the dark.

• Sherwood played nearly every position in high school: Safety, linebacker, defensive end, wide receiver, running back and wildcat quarterback, sometimes all in the same game.

When an Indiana coach saw that during the spring game going into his senior year, he told Caffey, “This kid might be the best all-around, all-purpose athlete in the country.”

One thing Sherwood didn’t do was return punts. That is, until Jensen Beach found itself tied late and in need of a spark. Sherwood told Caffey, “Don’t worry about it, I got this.” The first time he ever fielded a punt, he broke multiple tackles on his way to scoring the touchdown that keyed a win.

That continued at Auburn. Sherwood was a regular contributor from day one. Pro Football Focus rated him the top freshman safety in the country in 2018. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said he "may be one of the best tacklers I've ever seen."

In his lone season as a starter, the junior totaled 75 tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and three pass breakups. At Pro Day, the 6-foot-2, 216-pound safety was measured as having 34-inch arms — reportedly the longest for a defensive back in 15 years.

Sherwood isn't projected to be drafted until Day 3. Teams can’t seem to decide whether he should stick at safety (where his 4.75 40-yard dash is slow) or move to linebacker (where he would need to add weight).

But that’s the pessimist’s view of Sherwood. Caffey takes the optimist's view: If there are questions about which position he should play, doesn’t that mean he could play both?

“He’s a one-of-a-kind type safety,” Caffey said.

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This article originally ran on annistonstar.com.

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