GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jordan Sherit’s nickname is actually one he attempted to pass off to a teammate.

Early in their careers at Florida, Sherit would call roommate and cornerback Vernon Hargreaves “Papo,” a Cuban phrase of endearment that Sherit said is the equivalent of “bro” or “my friend.”

Hargreaves returned the favor.

“When I would make a play, in the defensive meeting room he would say ‘Papo made a play,’ ” Sherit said.

The nickname stuck with Sherit. It started with Hargreaves, the two-year roommate and three-year teammate who enrolled with Sherit in 2013. Then the position coaches began embracing it. Eventually then-defensive coordinator Geoff Collins joined in on the fun.

“Now,” Sherit said, “it seems like the coaches and the players don’t even know my real name.”

Fast forward to 2017. Hargreaves is in his second season in the NFL, a first-round draft pick playing on Sundays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sherit is a fifth-year senior defensive lineman at Florida, one of just five players left from that 2013 recruiting class that ranked third in the country, according to the 247Sports composite.

And Papo is making plays on a regular basis for the Gators.

After four years of fighting for playing time and fighting through injuries, Sherit is emerging as a veteran presence on a young Florida defense.

It’s a testament to his perseverance. It’s a sign that Sherit might be turning the corner in his last attempt to impress NFL scouts.

And it provides him with a sense of relief after not being able to live up to his potential for the first four years.

“For me,” Sherit said, “I always thought I was always that one step away.”

‘Do I want to come back?’ Jordan Sherit tackles LSU’s Derrius Guice. (Jordan McPherson/SEC

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