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Richard Sherman taking his message to his roots

Posted Mar 5, 2013

Richard Sherman always has a lot to say about a variety of topics. But the Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback is taking his loquacious act to his old high school in Compton during a trio of stops on Wednesday.

Richard Sherman has a lot to say. But that’s OK. The Seahawks’ ebullient All-Pro cornerback likes to talk, and the Stanford-educated Sherman is good at it.

And that’s good, too, because Wednesday Sherman is taking his message to his roots as part of the “Excellence in Education” Tour in partnership with “Students With a Goal” (SWAG). In a trio of 90-minute appearances where he grew up, Sherman will speak at two high schools – Dominguez in Compton, his alma mater; and Verbum Dei in Los Angeles – as well as at the Brotherhood Crusade in L.A.

Sherman was one of those students with a goal not that long ago. Recruited out of Dominguez High by USC when Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was coaching the Trojans, Sherman opted for Stanford because, as he has put it on several occasions, “I wanted to make a statement to my city. I’m from Compton, and it’s hard for people to understand that you can be an athlete and have high academic standards and achieve high academic things. So I really wanted to make that known to people that you can go to Stanford from Compton.”

Sherman not only went to Stanford, he graduated with a degree in – what else – communications.

He’s been communicating ever since. Face-to-face. On TV. Via Twitter. Before games. During games. After games. In-season. Offseason.Richard Sherman

Asked about the exposure for Sherman, who led the league in passes defenses (24) and tied for second in interceptions (eight) last season, Carroll smiled and offered, “It’s obvious that Richard’s got a lot of free time on his hands. I haven’t read one word that he’s said. I just see the pictures with his mouth open and I know what’s going on.”

Everyone gathered around Carroll at the Combine laughed. The Seahawks’ coach then added, “Richard knows what he’s doing. He’s having fun playing with this whole thing. He had a tremendous season. So he’s got something to stand on right now.”

Wednesday, Sherman’s stand will take him to Dominguez High in the morning, Verbum Dei High at midday and the Brotherhood Crusade in late afternoon.

“As a student-athlete, I always believed academic excellence was just as important as excellence on the football field,” Sherman said in the release announcing his whirlwind tour. “And even as a kid from Compton, I never doubted that I could turn obstacles into opportunity.”

Obstacles like shuffling between wide receiver and cornerback at Stanford, which hindered his draft status; and entering the NFL as a fifth-round draft choice by the Seahawks in 2011; and being the third option at left cornerback as a rookie before injuries to Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond thrust Sherman into the starting lineup.

“That’s why I’m excited about SWAG and the ‘Blueprint for Success Program,’ ” Sherman said. “Because as a “Student With a Goal,” I was able to go from Compton to Stanford to the NFL – that’s SWAG. Be a “Student With a Goal” and let your education open doors to an amazing future.”

That’s the message Sherman will deliver to the next generation. And an educated guess is that it will be punctuated by his infectious personality and driven by his gregarious gift for gab.