But with support Gilyard not only got his academic career back on tract, he also took his football skills to another level making him one of the hottest pro prospects in college football this season.
We spoke with Mardy after practice and asked him a few questions about the past and his future.
BI: A year ago you were just another guy looking to find some playing time in Brian Kelly's offense. This year it's a whole different ball game. Have you been able to keep a level head?
"Yea, I'm still that same guy trying to fight to keep my playing time because I've got guys behind me. I can't lose a beat and can't act lackadaisical and cant' act like I've arrived because I haven't. I guess the best way to say it is in my momma's words, "I can't act bigger than my britches", because I'm not bigger than my britches so I've got to stay low to the ground and stay hungry, stay starving out here because if I'm out here starving and I'm out here balling that's going to make everybody else better."
BI: You kind of found a cult following last season with fans and it got even bigger after the game when you ran into the kid in the stands and it got a lot of play on You Tube. Have you thought about where you've come from since you've been at UC having so many up's and down's on and off the field?
"Yea it's funny. You've got me, this small back wood cat from Bunnell, Florida. I came to the "Big City" Cincinnati with a little more fast paced life and I was a little arrogant, you know a little knuckle head as a young kid when I first got here. Then I got everything snatched away from me and that humbled me. I wasn't listening to my mom in the beginning as she told me not to get too big for my britches and I got way above that getting a huge head when I first got to school. Then when I got everything snatched I had to come back in and it kind of gave me a different look at things as I discovered I wasn't as good as I thought I was, and I wasn't as smart or fast as I thought I was. So I ended up being the small sticky gooey brown stuff at the bottom of the barrel. Now I'm starting to be the cream that rises to the top."
BI: This is your last time out here at Higher Ground. When you look back what do you remember most about the past few years? "What I remember most is just being out here with my boys. That is one of the main reasons I came back for my senior year. Just to be out here with my family. I don't have any family here in Ohio except for my girlfriend's parents. They are the closest family I have here. Just knowing I have over 100 brothers and uncles (I don't call the coaches my dad, they are like my uncles) knowing I have everyone backing and supporting me just keeps me here and I wouldn't change it for the world."
BI: When you look towards the future (this season) the wide receiver position has gone from a not so deep position to one with many great talents. Now it looks like there are at least ten guys out here that can catch the ball and get things done. What do you see?
Were all out here to develop our skills; I was kind of rough around the edges the first couple of years I was here. With the Wiz (Dominick Goodman) being gone it's my turn to step up as we've got a lot of vets and guys that Coach Kelly recruited that are here. We're deep and we're all just developing our skills."
BI: Has Coach Kelly and Coach Molnar kept you grounded?
"I really don't deal with Coach Kelly all that much except on the field. Coach is more like a defensive guy and is always down there getting on them. Coach Molnar is my man. He's always talking with me wanting to know what's going on and he keeps telling me that I haven't arrived yet. He's always reminding me about Goody and how he handled his success and business."
BI: Last year you had a breakout year; who is the guy this year you feel fans need to watch who is going to have a breakout year?
"Me! Na just kidding… Armon Binns most definitely, in my personal opinion. He's got some big shoes to fill in Goody, but he's going to be able to fill those shoes. He can't be guarded because if you put the ball up anywhere in the air he's going to dunk on anyone underneath him because 80's going to do his thing."