He backed it up in each of the team-high 902 snaps he played last season.
But sometimes Gilchrist can go unnoticed in the secondary that includes All-American DeAndre McDaniel and Freshman All-American Rashard Hall, who combined for 14 interceptions in 2009.
Gilchrist, after all, didn't have any, even though he did finish third one the team with 100 tackles and pass breakups (six).
But neither accolades nor stats make the least bit of a difference to Gilchrist, who's a prime candidate to be voted captain at the end of his upcoming senior season.
"It's always team first with us. We always talk about team success," he said. "When we have team success, you have a whole bunch of individual success. As long as you worry about team first, all the individual accolades will come after that."
Gilchrist was the starter at free safety last season, but also played corner and nickel back during Kevin Steele's first season as defensive coordinator. Clemson's secondary was tops in the ACC and ranked among the best in the country.
The Tigers finished first in the conference in pass defense (162.8 yards/game) and seventh in the nation. In pass efficiency defense Clemson finished 21st nationally and third in conference.
That's all in the past.
"It's a new year, new team, new players," Gilchrist said. "We're just trying to focus on the process or right now. That's what it's going to take for us to be where we want to be at."
Once again, he'll have to play another big part. And Gilchrist said there are signs of progress in year two under Steele.
"Whenever you're in the second year of something, or you're doing something over for a second time, it becomes sort of a second nature to you," he said. "You become familiar with it and it's easier to adjust things out.
"I feel like our second year being in the system—that will really help."
Gilchrist is currently listed as one of the starters at cornerback, but could find himself in a similar role that he played last season.
"Whenever the season comes, whatever the task is that they have for me in the game plan, I'll just roll with it," he said.
No doubt Gilchrist will continue to earn the respect of his teammates each step of the way.
"All I can do is continue to encourage guys, be a leader out there and work as hard as I know I can," he said.
Gilchrist all business
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