Neville Gallimore may have spent his whole life in Ontario, Canada, but he's well versed in America's Pastime (and we're not talking about baseball). The Canada Prep junior defensive end has been watching the NFL for as long as he can remember, and has been playing the U.S. rules game since he was in elementary school. It's little wonder, then, that his dream is to become an NCAA Division I athlete and play in the League one day.
"Even being from Canada I just really loved the American game, the tempo, how they played. I know they take football seriously in Canada, but not as much as Americans do," Gallimore said. "I just always loved watching [American football] and wanted to be part of that one day. I actually grew up liking the Jacksonville Jaguars – I know it's weird (laughs) – but my goal is to play in the NFL one day. You have to be a top, top athlete to get to that level and I'm determined to do that."
The 6-foot-6, 280 pounder still has a long way to go before any NFL aspirations are realized, but he can check the "Division I" box off. On Feb. 20, Gallimore received his first scholarship offer from the University of Maryland when Terps assistant Keith Dudzinski let him know Randy Edsall and Co. wanted him in their program.
"Oh man it was a dream come true. It was fantastic," Gallimore said. "When I got on the phone with Coach Dudzinksi I was just finishing dinner and I was trying to keep myself together. I couldn't believe it, and my family couldn't believe it. We were all laughing, joking around. It's a day later and I'm still buzzing about it. There's nothing like getting your first offer."
Although Gallimore expressed some shock, it's not like Maryland hadn't been monitoring him. The Canada Prep edge rusher said Dudzinski had spoken to his coaches extensively and been in touch with him via Facebook and the like.
"I think [Dudzinksi] may have even come up to my school, though I'm not positive, but that means a lot since it's so far from home," Gallimore said. "Coach Dudzinski is a really good person and I like him."
Gallimore has already done plenty of research in the day since receiving his Terps offer. He said there are two things in particular that stand out about College Park.
"First and foremost, I know it's a strong program academically. I know they have a very, very good criminal law program, and that is what I want to study in college," Gallimore said. "Also, after speaking to a couple Maryland coaches, I can tell it's a very strong staff and very relatable coaches who really have a good influence on their players. They build very strong relationships and have good personalities. I'm eager to meet them in person."
Which Gallimore will do either this March or in the summertime. He said he's planning out his visit schedule now and wants to see College Park as soon as possible.
"I've never been [to Maryland], but when I do get the opportunity to do so it will be quite an experience. I've only ever visited one NCAA college, Columbia University, when I went to a game out of the blue," Gallimore said. "Other then that, I've never been anywhere else. So I really want to see Maryland, meet the coaches, see the school myself and learn even more about them. I just really appreciate the opportunity they're giving me and I'm definitely going to be considering them."
The Terps may have been the first to pull the trigger, but they won't be the last. Gallimore said Boston College and Duke are showing heavy interest, while Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Minnesota, Nevada and even Florida are keeping tabs.
He plans to visit several of the aforementioned programs in the coming months.
"As of right now I'm in the process of talking to my coaches about visits," Gallimore said. "I know Maryland, but I'm thinking I'll see Florida and Duke too."
After Gallimore completes the lengthy recruiting process, which he figures will last until next winter, he will have completed the next stage of his journey. He's been playing football for eight or nine years, but it was in eighth grade when he realized he could be a special talent.
In ninth grade, however, Gallimore attended St. Catherine's School in Ontario, which isn't exactly a football hot bed. So after two years there, he transferred to Canada Prep, which helped him realize his potential and ultimately be seen by Division I U.S. universities.
"The coaches here helped me tremendously and helped me compete against American D-I athletes," Gallimore said. "I got a ton of exposure, and Canada Prep is the only school in Canada that plays against top-ranked U.S. teams like Poly Prep. So not only did I get a chance to play against U.S. players, but a lot of those players are the best out there. It was great exposure for me."
Gallimore had a stellar junior campaign for Canada Prep, showing off an array of rush moves, to go along with his power-speed combination off the ball. But he said his best qualities are actually the intangible kind.
"What I do best is I lead by example, and when I play I compete on every play. I go hard every down, every snap," Gallimore said. "And I feel like some people underestimate my speed because of how big I am, but I'm very quick and I am fast off the ball.
"But I know as the competition gets tougher I have to understand I can't always rely on my speed and quickness to get by because the O-lines are so much better. I have to work on my footwork, my hand placement and just my overall technique so I can succeed at the next level."
Canadian DE Gallimore Realizing Dream
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