It’s not very often one of my beloved Gamecocks makes it all the way up here to Bristol, CT. With three potential first round NFL Draft picks this year, though, our boys are getting some good national attention!
Having been a reporter for GamecocksOnline.com during my time as a student at South Carolina, I wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to ask Stephon Gilmore some questions – for old time’s sake – before he heads off to bigger and better things.
I got the chance to sit down with Stephon on Thursday night - and ask him some Gamecock worthy questions - during his visit to ESPN:
LG: What’s your impression of ESPN so far? Is it what you expected?
SG: It’s more than what I expected. I didn’t know it was this nice. They’re treating me well…and I’m enjoying my time here.
LG: What are your plans for Draft Day?
SG: I got invited to New York, so I’m going to the Draft. I have family coming…and I’ll just be waiting to hear my name called.
LG: You told me you just recently went to New York City for the first time…do you have any plans to sight see or do anything fun while you’re there?
SG: Yeah! It’s a lot...overwhelming! I’m gonna do a couple of things. They have me going to a lot of events down there…just gonna try to have fun and relax my mind, and go from there.
LG: Whose name do you think is going to be called first between you, Melvin, and Alshon?
SG: To tell you the truth, I think Melvin. (Laughs) I think Melvin will go first…and I don’t know between me and Alshon. It’s a toss-up.
LG: Have you talked to anyone who is surprised that the Gamecocks have three potential first round picks this year?
SG: I mean, I knew it was going to happen like that. It’s a good thought though – I mean, if the three of us go, there’s gotta be some good talent coming behind us. It’s setting up a good example for them…and for coaches to come to South Carolina and look at the players that are under us.
LG: How do you feel about being “the one” to start this recent trend of South Carolina’s Mr. Football signing with the Gamecocks?
SG: It’s a great feeling. I wanted to do something different than just go to Alabama or Florida…somewhere that was already good. I wanted to go to a team that was building… I think we did that at South Carolina…and I think my time there helped South Carolina’s future.
LG: Seems like a big part of why all of you guys chose to stay in state had to do with being close to your family – Mom, in particular. Is there a particular team your Mama would prefer you be drafted to? You, being from Rock Hill, I’m sure I could guess…
SG: She wants me to stay close to home…but I can’t be selfish and say “oh, I want to go here”. It’s whatever team picks me. She doesn’t really have a favorite team…so she’s just like, whatever…as long as I come see her, she’s alright. (Laughs)
LG: I’m sure you’ve been asked this way too many times…but I have to ask it. Why did you decide to enter the Draft as opposed to staying at Carolina another year?
SG: I turned my papers into the NFL Committee; got my grade back, sat down with my coaches — Coach Spurrier and Coach Ward — and they gave me some great feedback. Then, I sat down with my family and made the decision to come out of school.
LG: What are you going to miss the most about being a Gamecock?
SG: Running out to 2001. The smoke, the fans, getting chill bumps… (We laugh and high five). Just gettin’ out there and ready to play – that’s what I’ll miss most.
LG: If you end up getting drafted somewhere (that’s not the Panthers)…what, in general, are you going to miss most about the state of South Carolina?
SG: I mean…just South Carolina Football, in its whole. We’ve got GREAT fans. They come if we lose…they come if we win. They come if we lose to Clemson…but I never lost to Clemson. I never lost to Clemson in three years… (Another high five…Laughs). But like I said, just Gamecock Football as a whole. The great fans…always at games…always supportive. That’s what I’ll miss most.
LG: Anything else to tell Gamecock fans before you head to the NFL Draft?
SG: Tell them I’m gonna miss them. I really enjoyed my time there.
Repping the GAMECOCKS at ESPN!
On the set of NFL Live...
Demonstrating throwing skills on SportsCenter...
TV Segments from Stephon's visit to ESPN:
- SportsCenter Draft Special - Stephon on Getting Ready for the Draft
- NFL Live Segment - Stephon talks to Mike Hill, Tedy Bruschi, and Marcellus Wiley about preparing for the NFL
SO proud of our boys, about to do BIG things! Always great to see a familiar face up here, so far from home. :)