By Randy York
Sherwin Jarmon, a Michigan native and Nebraska letterwinner that played opposite Mike Wynn in what many viewed as the nation's best tandem of defensive ends in 1969, died recently, and a celebration of his life was held on Nov. 19, according to an obituary in the Houston Chronicle. He was 64. "We called Sherwin 'Fish' because he would always show up wherever the ball carrier was," Nebraska second-team All-America tight end Jim McFarland said Monday. "He was kind of like Lavonte David - you could not get away from him. He was so agile that every time we would throw a hitch pattern to our wide receiver in practice, Jerry Tagge would remind me to make sure and block Sherwin. He was that agile. He could step right in front of you and intercept the ball."
Jerry Murtaugh, a linebacker on that '69 team that set the stage for Nebraska's back-to-back national championship teams in 1970 and '71, called Jarmon one of the most underrated Blackshirt players in Nebraska history. "He was quiet and wanted no notoriety. He would never say more than two words at a time," Murtaugh said Monday. "But he was quicker than a cat and tougher than nails. "Whenever I went strong side, I knew no one would get around Jaguar (another one of his nicknames)," Murtaugh said. "He was just too doggone quick. I hate to hear news like this. A year ago, when I had Mike Wynn on my radio show, I tried to find Sherwin, but couldn't. He was a great football player and more importantly, a great man." According to McFarland and Murtaugh, Jarmon cared more about action than accolades. He was named second-team All-Big Eight on that '69 team that finished 9-2, tied Missouri for the conference championship and crushed Georgia, 45-6, in the Sun Bowl.
"Sherwin did all of his talking on the field," said Murtaugh, who ranks second behind Barrett Ruud as Nebraska's all-time leading tackler. "He (Jarmon) went on to play linebacker for the Chicago Fire in the pros. He was quick and tough." In the late '60s, Nebraska's No. 1 units battled each other almost daily in practice. "Fish wasn't very big, but he was rock solid," McFarland said. "I remember him being a split end as a freshman. He could make the toughest one-handed catches you've ever seen, but he'd have trouble catching the ones that came right to him. So he was switched to defense. Smart move...great player...solid citizen...very respected...very likeable guy." Tom Osborne, Nebraska's offensive coordinator in 1969, remembers those two-platoon days and coached Jarmon as a receiver before his switch to defense. "That move really helped him blossom as a football player," Osborne said.
We finish with a comment published in the guest book where memories of Jarmon are shared in the Houston Chronicle. It was posted by Vivian Shelvin of Stafford, Texas. She said: "Sunshine fades and shadows fall, but sweet remembrance outlasts all." Jarmon was a special player on a special team that may linger in the shadows of Nebraska's rich football history. He was not among the Michigan natives that contributed to Nebraska's 1970 and '71 national championship teams, but let the record show that he was among those who pulled a Blackshirt over his head every day and did his part to create the renaissance that set it all up. In fact, Jarmon had a role in a prominent stat that USA Today national columnist Mike Lopresti published in Monday's edition. In a column chronicling the college football season to this point, Lopresti wrote that "Nebraska reminded us why its mascot is in the dictionary next to the word 'consistency.' The Cornhuskers hit the nine-win mark for the 38th time in 42 years." The first year for those 38 nine-win seasons was 1969..."the year Sherwin Jarmon and his teammates helped turn the program around and point us to greatness," Murtaugh said.
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Voices from Husker Nation
Outside of Sherwin's on- the-field exploits, which Jim and Jerry expressed so well, I remember Sherwin strutting the halls of Selleck Quadrangle during fall camp with his Isaac Hayes Hot-Buttered Soul Album blaring in the morning. His smile was contagious and made heading out to practice for the day seem almost bearable...another sad loss for the Husker Nation...seems like too many as of late. Dave Morock, Parkville, Missouri
Sherwin Jarmon and Mike Wynn were defensive end heroes of mine as a youngster sneaking into Big Red games in the late '60s. So sad to see our childhood heroes move on but at least our memories remain. Thanks Sherwin! Pat Sullivan, Eureka Springs, Arkansas