There's more to Richard Sherman than his fiery personality.

Indelibly, the lasting image most have of the 49ers cornerback is his viral outburst aimed at Michael Crabtree after the 2013 NFC Championship game. That competitive spirit, displayed in full that night, is merely one facet of the nine-year NFL veteran's personality — not, as some have erroneously assumed, its entirety.

Sherman is one of the league's most intelligent and independent players — not that he needs anyone to vouch for him. He has achieved a level of success rarely enjoyed in the NFL, even brokering his own contract with the 49ers after finishing his Seattle stint in 2018. He has, of course, been more than willing to defend that approach on Twitter.

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Here's everything you need to know about Sherman's high school and Stanford careers — both on the gridiron and in the classroom — and how it led him to the NFL:

Richard Sherman boasted a 4.2 GPA

Sherman attended Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif., where he played receiver, cornerback and punt/kick returner for the Dons' football team. He also ran track and field.

An excellent student, Sherman graduated in 2006 with a 4.2 GPA, earning salutatorian honors. According to his website, he was the first student in 20 years "qualified to attend Stanford on both academic and athletic merits." His 247Sports profile lists four schools that offered him scholarships, including one from UCLA.

But Sherman was set on attending Stanford, a decision he explained by remembering an impactful recruiting visit from then-USC coach Pete Carroll.

"I was a high school junior when I first met him. ... At the time, it was one of the coolest experiences of my life," Sherman wrote for Sports Illustrated. "He said, 'You’ve got the perfect size to be a lock-up corner.' I’d never heard that before: 'lock-up' corner. I made ‘lockup2006’ my email address and used it until I got to college.

"I didn’t end up going to USC, because my mind was already made up to go to Stanford, and there was no way I was passing up the opportunity to get a Stanford education, but I could tell then there was something that separated Carroll from others coaches who recruited me."

Carroll, of course, later coached Sherman with the Seattle Seahawks.

Richard Sherman studied communications at Stanford

Sherman earned a degree in communications in June 2010, three months before he would play his final season for the Cardinal. He balanced his education while playing football and earning two varsity letters in track and field.

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Richard Sherman played five seasons at Stanford

Sherman played five seasons at Stanford, from 2006 to 2010. He gained a fifth year of eligibility after he was granted a medical redshirt in 2008. He suffered a knee injury that season, which caused him to miss all but the first four games.

Richard Sherman played receiver and cornerback at Stanford

Sherman began his career at Stanford as a receiver, playing the position from 2006 to 2008. He led the team in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches as a freshman in 2006, then led the team in receiving yards and touchdowns again in 2007. He finished with 84 receptions for 1,340 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.

He switched to cornerback in the spring of his redshirt junior season, after he'd missed eight games in 2008. According to a 2014 article by The New York Times, coach Jim Harbaugh "shoved him to the bottom of the defensive-back depth chart, a scholarship player below the walk-ons."

That was part of a rift between the two, which started after Sherman injured his knee in 2008. According to an article by 247Sports, Harbaugh felt Sherman quit on the team after undergoing surgery and suggested he transfer. Sherman thought Harbaugh treated him unfairly. A likely cause of that rift was that Sherman felt Harbaugh stymied his natural personality in order to fit with a team-first mentality.

Sherman touched on that in a 2014 interview with SI while explaining the different coaching methods employed by Harbaugh and Carroll:

"(Carroll's) the polar opposite of (Harbaugh). ... He allows his players to be who they are within the confines of the team, as long as it doesn't hurt the team, he allows guys to be themselves," Sherman said. "If you're a loose guy and you dance at practice like I do, he allows you to be th

at guy. As long as when you're on the field you do exactly what you're supposed to do."

Sherman also said that feud with Harbaugh contributed to his outburst after the 2013 NFC Championship.

Regardless, Sherman started all 26 games at cornerback for Stanford, compiling 113 tackles, 23 pass breakups and six interceptions over his final two seasons. The Cardinal went 20-6 in that stretch, including 12-1 in 2010. Sherman was selected with the 154th pick in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He later became an All-Pro corner with both the Seahawks and 49ers.