Players to Watch in 2011: South Carolina DB Stephon Gilmore

Stephon Gilmore looks to lead the Gamecocks back to Atlanta. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images North America)

Stephon Gilmore has just about everything you look for in a cornerback.  Steve Spurrier would probably be the first to tell you that, without Gilmore, the Gamecock defensive backfield would be dissected worse than a biology project.  Standing at 6’1″ and weighing in at around 200 lbs., Gilmore has the size that NFL scouts look for.  His strength enables him to reroute receivers when in press coverage, but he’s also a very smart player.  Gilmore is one of the best when it comes to route recognition, sometimes to the point of which you begin to wonder if he is in the opposition’s huddle.

One of the attributes that sets Gilmore apart is his ability to play very well in zone coverage.  This is where most cornerbacks that reach this level of play falter.  Gilmore relies on tremendous instincts and his ability to read the quarterback’s eyes to get a great jump on a receiver’s route.  He is also a very disciplined player and is hardly ever caught out of position in coverage.  Gilmore tries his best to lead by example through giving it his best every play, and is known to never take a play off.

Gilmore has the intangibles that NFL scouts look for as well.  His ability to rush the passer, which includes his skill to disguise his blitz and shed blockers, is one of, if not the best in the country at his position.  He is also one of the best in the country when it comes to being a factor in the running game.  Gilmore has a nose for the football, and has shown the ability to take down some of the bigger backs in the SEC.  He also enjoys having the football in his hands from time to time, being the Gamecocks’ punt returner, as well as lining up at quarterback when Spurrier decides to throw a different look at the opposition’s defense.

Overall, Gilmore is without a doubt one of the best players in the SEC.  Opposing quarterbacks hardly ever look his way when throwing, but have to keep tabs on him to make sure he’s not coming for them on a blitz.  I strongly believe that Gilmore is a future Pro Bowl player at the cornerback position, and will show the SEC exactly why this season.

-Chris

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One response to “Players to Watch in 2011: South Carolina DB Stephon Gilmore

  1. Pingback: Players to Watch 2011: Alabama LB Courtney Upshaw | The Basement Dweller

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