Sherry headed to UNLV

By PHIL BARBER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Ah, Vegas. The gambling. The partying. The 24-hour shenanigans that can’t be divulged outside the 702 area code.

Casa Grande quarterback Nick Sherry. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat)

Nick Sherry wants none of it, which is why everyone is so convinced that UNLV will be such a good fit. The stellar Casa Grande quarterback has committed to the Runnin’ Rebels and is expected to enroll next fall.

“His mom (Nancy) was concerned about Las Vegas,” said Trent Herzog, Sherry’s coach at Casa. “But the coach there told her, ‘The kids that gamble, those are the ones we get rid of.’ His dad checked it out, and everyone felt very comfortable with it.”
It was a successful rebound for Sherry, who appeared headed to Colorado before new coach Jon Embree rescinded the school’s offer on Dec. 11. That reversal put the strong-armed QB in limbo, though several other schools immediately expressed renewed interest. San Jose State and Idaho reportedly offered scholarships, and bigger programs like Arizona and Wisconsin also came sniffing.
No one came at Sherry harder than the Rebels.
“The day after I was released from Colorado, they called and said, ‘Hey, we want you out here,’” Sherry noted Wednesday night. “The coach’s wife actually found me on the Internet and told him they had to sign me. They were bugging me all the time. They’d call me, call Trent. … They were annoying me so much, I knew they were serious.”
Sherry and his father, Steve, visited UNLV last weekend, meeting with head coach Bobby Hauck and offensive coordinator Rob Phenicie, who also coaches the quarterbacks. Sherry planned to approach his decision cautiously after being rebuffed by the Buffs. But he quickly formed a bond with Hauck and Phenicie. The quarterback canceled trips to Idaho and Arizona and told the Rebels he was coming.
Under NCAA rules, UNLV isn’t allowed to comment on specific recruits until the official national signing date of Feb. 2, but the Las Vegas Review-Journal confirmed the news.
Sherry was co-Player of the Year in the Sonoma County League — sharing honors with teammate Makana Garrigan — after completing 190 of 310 passes for 2,623 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior, with just six interceptions. He led the Gauchos to an 11-2 record and the North Coast Section Division 2 semifinals — where they fell 26-21 to eventual champion Concord.
At 6-foot-5, Sherry is a classic pocket passer, and that’s just how UNLV intends to use him. He’ll be under center in a pro style offense.
“Those (coaches) are all from Montana, where they went to three (FCS, formerly Division I-AA) championship games in seven years,” Herzog said. “They were all hired a year ago. All the quarterbacks on last year’s roster are better in a spread system.”
Herzog, and perhaps Hauck and Phenicie, can envision this scenario: Sherry redshirts his first year, sits for one season behind recent junior-college transfer Sean Reilly, then emerges as the Runnin’ Rebels starter as a sophomore.
Who knows, maybe one day Sherry will be gunning for Randall Cunningham’s school records for career passing yards (8,020) and touchdowns (59).
To be sure, the Rebels are undergoing some rebuilding these days. They finished 2-11 in 2010, including 2-6 in the Mountain West. But they played a daunting schedule, with conference games against TCU, Utah, BYU and San Diego State, and nonconference match-ups against Wisconsin, West Virginia and Nevada. Win or lose, that’s an intriguing challenge for a young QB.
The Mountain West will reconfigure in 2011, losing TCU, BYU and Utah, but will still include several prominent programs, including Boise State, Nevada, Fresno State, Hawaii and Air Force.
“I want to be part of a project and rebuild a team into something completely different,” Sherry said. “I knew I could take this team to a bowl game and beat a BCS school. I want to leave a mark, not just put together another six- or seven-win season.”
Hauck is expected to visit Petaluma at the end of the month, and Sherry will fly back to Las Vegas for signing day. Nancy didn’t get to visit with Nick and Steve, but by chance she’ll be at a photography convention in Vegas on Feb. 19, and she may try to visit the UNLV athletic offices.
“I’ll ask the coaches to keep him real busy,” she said.
Sherry is busy enough now. Immediately after football season ended with that loss to Concord, he began practicing with the Casa Grande basketball team, where he starts at forward. In fact, despite the big football news, Sherry had his mind on the court Wednesday night. His Gauchos were busy beating SCL rival Analy, staking their claim as one of the best teams in the Redwood Empire.
You can reach Staff Writer Phil Barber at 521-5263 or phil.barber@pressdemocrat.com.