Stephon Gilmore plays quarterback for his high school team and is rated as the 35th best wide receiver by Scout.com, but the majority of schools that have offered are looking at Gilmore as a defensive back. The 4-star standout is one of the best overall athletes in the south this year, hence the reasoning why many schools feel he'll make a smooth transition to cornerback on the next level. He says he's up to 21 offers from some of the best schools in the nation.
"I'm at 21 offers now. Schools like Clemson, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida State, Michigan, Wake Forest, Ohio State, LSU and Auburn have offered me. Michigan and Wake are looking at me as a quarterback because I fit their schemes. Some schools are looking at me as an athlete, but most want me as a corner. I want to play that in college because I think that is where I can make it on the next level."
Stephon has made a ton of visits to schools all around the south. He'd visited the in-state schools, Tennessee and many other programs in the South. He just got back from camping at Alabama and says the visit went very well.
"I've been to a lot of schools for visits. I've been to Tennessee a lot. I have a great relationship with Coach Slade and I think it is a great school. I like their stadium a lot; it is huge. I'm good friends with Jonathan Hefney and he gives me advice on this process."
"I just got back from camping at Alabama. That was a great visit for me. It was a good trip because I got to meet more of the coaches and got to spend more time with Coach Saban. My parents were impressed with their academics and the school, and I'd have to say I was too. Coach Saban was telling me how he likes me as a corner because of my size and athletic ability. I really enjoyed it there."
One school that really hasn't been mentioned with Gilmore has been Florida State. The Seminoles offered him early in the process and they have been on him for quite some time. He says he's been to FSU before and states that the Seminoles are a school he's taking a hard look at.
"Florida State is definitely a school I am looking at. I've been there for a game before (Miami). I plan on going to their short camp next month. I like them and I like Coach Fisher. He came here to see me during the spring and we talked last week for a long time on the phone. The like me as corner also. Coach Fisher was telling me how they like my long arms and size. Coach Mickey Andrews told me that he wants 3 corners in this class and that he wants one of them to be me. He feels I could be a great corner there."
"I have a good relationship with Chris Hope who is from here in Rock Hill. I talk to Jamie Robinson some too, but not as much as I do Chris. We're pretty close and I go to him for advice on the recruiting process."
Gilmore told NoleDigest that he is still pretty open to the process but that he hopes to make a decision before his senior season ends. Like many high school athletes he is planning on graduating early. He says the school that fits what he is looking for will be the school he picks in the end.
"Location isn't going to be a factor for me. I am looking for the best fit for myself. I'm looking for the relationship I have with the coaches and for the system that fits me best as a corner. I want to play in a system that uses bump-and-run and one that likes to run man-to-man. I like those types of defenses because you have to compete in them."
"I'm hoping to make a decision before or during my season because I'm graduating early. I want to get in so I can compete. I just started really thinking about recently and it's something I want to do. I want to be able to help the team I choose recruit and all that so I want to get it done."
The Seminoles are a team that Gilmore is interested in and it's a team he has ties to through personal relationships. It's going to be a battle with schools like Clemson, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee to land him. Gilmore is not giving any hints as to what he is really thinking at this time so it should be interesting to follow his recruitment as it unfolds. Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates with Stephon and the rest of the 2009 recruiting class.