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Welcome to the Fold: Joe Gilliam

Because of Mrs. T-Mill's surgery this morning, I was unable to see the news about our newest recruit. He is also one that I might get to meet in person. One of the many jobs I do in my unemployed state is substitute teaching for Perry Township here in Indianapolis. As a result, I have taught many days at Southport High, which is the home of our new recruit, Joe Gilliam.

I like Gilliam for one huge reason: He knows what it takes to turn a team around immediately. From 1996 through the 2007 season Southport High was one of the worst large school programs in the state of Indiana. In that time, the Cardinals were just 17-103. In that stretch they never won more than three times in a single season and twice finished winless at 0-10. Five more times they won just one game.

Gilliam was a major reason that things suddenly changed last year. The Cardinals were 9-2, won a sectional game for the first time in five years, and finished undefeated as Conerence Indiana champions. It was a shocking turnaround that very few people expected, especially since the current coaching staff was already in its fifth season. Gilliam drew the eyes of numerous schools,a nd we managed to land him despite offers from Notre Dame, Nebraska, michigan State, and Illinois.

I like what we are getting here a lot. He is already a tall linebacker at 6'3" and could easily put on a few more pounds. Few linebackers in this state are as big as he is already. He is also a basketball player, and you all know how much I love the versatility of multi-sport guys. The kid is also incredibly intelligent as well if he was considering Vanderbilt, Stanford, and Northwestern among his offers.He values academics, and that is one of the highest priorities that coach Hope seems to be putting on recruiting.

His coaches have compared him to current New York Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, who also played high school ball here in Indy. ESPN has video of him here, and from what I can see, he has pretty good instincts and he loves to hit. He could end up moving to Free Safety for us, which is fine with me as well. Far too often of late we have had guys at linebacker that have tried to make arm tackles. Gilliam just wants to hit someone and knock them on their ass. I like that.

Rivals lists him as a mid-level three-star, but he could always move up with a strong senior season. It is already a good sign that most of our current recruits are three-star caliber already. Gilliam is one of the highest rated players in the state too. I know there is not a ton of talent here in Indiana, but if we can start getting hte few good ones this state does produce we will improve drastically.