For Vanderbilt’s Trent Sherfield ‘Failure Is Not An Option’

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 05: Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Trent Sherfield (10) runs the ball during an NCAA football game between the Auburn Tigers and the Vanderbilt Commodores on on November 5, 2016, at Jordan Hare Stadium in Auburn, AL. (Photo by Scott Donaldson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

For Vanderbilt’s Trent Sherfield ‘Failure Is Not An Option’

Never Fail, Always Learn

Trent Sherfield wakes up every morning to the words of his head coach. “Coach (Derek) Mason preaches ‘Always try to be better than you were the day before’ So, on my alarm clock I have, ‘Be 1% better than yesterday’, I take that from him.”  Sherfield has always strived for greatness. He has a tattoo on his right bicep that says ‘Failure Is Not An Option’.  “This was my first tattoo. I got it when I was 17.  It is something I live by each and every day.  When things get tough I tell myself failure is not an option. I never fail, I always learn.”

Sherfield ended the 2016 season riding the wave of greatness. He ranked second on the team with 34 receptions for 472 receiving yards. With career high performances in the final games of the 2016 season.  Yet, he is so much more than a collection of statistics, he is a Vanderbilt Man through and through.

Family Commitment

When asked about his family Trent stated with a smile “My family is small but my support system is huge. My grandmother, my mom, my uncles and my grandfather.  They are a 5 hour drive away. They show up to every home game with my jersey numbers on the shirts and everything.”  Thanks to his uncles his love for football was born.  “My uncles introduced me to football, I have loved the game since day one.”

With that in mind it is easy to understand why he played every position he could while in high school. Sherfield attended Danville High School in Danville, Illinois, where he was a three-year starter on both sides of the ball.  Sherfield was the starting quarterback his junior and senior year. His senior year alone he collected 2,429 total yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, as well as 11 touchdown passes.  On defense, as a senior defensive back, he made 83 tackles.  As if quarterback and defensive back weren’t enough, Sherfield was also the punter. Meanwhile in the football off season he played basketball and was a sprinter-jumper in track and field.


The recruiting process can be a crazy and confusing time for any athlete. Sherfield knew he wanted to play in the SEC so he could play against the best of the best on Saturday afternoons. “I chose Vanderbilt because of the school. I wanted to be a part of something that was being built.”  Then, in a moment the business side of college football showed up on West End.  “I came here because of the program and not the coach.  I stuck with the program. I think Mason was a blessing from God.”  Sherfield has flourished under head coach Derek Mason and his staff.  He praises Mason for challenging him and his teammates to be great on and off the field.  “Mason preaches everything that I was looking for about being a man, he pushes me to be a better man.”

Sherfield, along with 13 other teammates, has maintained a Wednesday night fellowship, that was started by former Vandy player Jordan Matthews.  “We meet and talk about the day to day struggles that we are having, as well as our walk with God.”  Sherfield also talked about his divine pregame ritual, “I make sure that I pray before I take the field, give God thanks, ask for him to put his power in place of mine, mine is insufficient and I need his.”

Senior Season

Vanderbilt is 143 days from kicking-off the 2017 season.  This will be Andy Ludwig‘s third season as offensive coordinator and Sherfield is feeling confident in the offense and the quarterback corps. “The quarterbacks growth is off the charts this spring.  I think we know our identity now on the offensive side of the ball. We know who we are as a unit. Those last two games showed us who we can be and what we can do.” Sherfield finished strong in 2016, with his longest reception was 76 yards, vs. Tennessee as well as his longest career rush of 45 yards in the Independence Bowl vs. NC State.

The Future

Like most college football players there are hopes and aspirations of playing in the NFL.  Sherfield is no different.  His reasons for wanting to play in the NFL might set him apart from the crowd.  Sherfield has dreams of a time where he will be able to take care of his family so his grandparents will no longer have to work. Everything he does, he does for them.

In fact Sherfield is Majoring in Medicine Health & Society with a Minor in Corporate Strategy, with the hopes of having the NFL resume to use it as a platform to build an indoor facility in Danville, IL. “I would like to help the youth out and be able to train kids, there are a lot of kids back home that have the potential they just don’t have the means and correct support system to guide them.”

Love The Process

As Sherfield enters his senior season his on field potential is limitless. Furthermore he is also taking on life with a relentless tenacity.  Sherfield is embracing a Mason motto. “He always says ‘Love the process’, that is one thing I am trying to embrace right now, just loving the journey, loving each and every day and each and every second of that grind.” That grind will make an already remarkable young man better every day. With the unconditional love of his family, his strong faith in God and the words of Mason pushing him, failure is not an option.

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  1. “I can do all things thru Christ Jesus….”
    Article is right on, all cylinders. The attitude and lives lived well is the reason that I began following Vanderbilt football ………….again. Anchor Down.
    “Example is not the main thing in influencing people…’s the ONLY thing.” Dr. Albert Schweitzer, French missionary evangelist and philosopher and physician

  2. Paul,
    Thank you for the comment. Glad you enjoyed the article. Talking with Trent was a wonderful experience. I love the chance to be able to tell these players stories. I especially love hearing how Coach Mason leads them. There is an unconditional love. Thank you for taking the time to comment.


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