Christmas has come early for the Spartans’ 2018 recruiting class, and it’s come in the form of a commitment from the top-rated tight end in the state of Ohio AND the entire Midwest. It’s come in the form of Trent Gillison.
“He was very excited for me to commit there because he said I was the number one guy on their radar, and they got me, so he’s ready for me to have a good senior year and for me to come out in 2018,” Gillison told Spartan Nation of what Mark Dantonio’s reaction was to his commitment on Sunday.
“It’s a blessing,” Trent admitted. “It’s amazing because I know that God has given me the ability to play at a high level and has given me the talent to play. It’s also good knowing coaches have seen potential in me and they want me to play for their school.”
Gillison, (6’5”, 230 pounds) hails from Pickerington High School Central in Pickerington, OH, and is viewed as a 4-star recruit. He had offers from 13 other schools prior to choosing Michigan State, including four other Big Ten schools, four SEC schools and two ACC schools.
“They like how I’m able to block and also how I’m able to get down the field and find open spaces,” Trent mentioned of the positives coaches have seen in his game.
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As for what the coaches see as some areas of improvement for Trent, he said, “They would like to see me get a little bigger upper-body-wise, faster, as usual, and route-running, just for me to sharpen-up my skills for everything.”
Here at Spartan Nation and Scout, we agree that he needs to beef up a little in the strength department, but we also see some tremendous positives in his game, as well.
His body control and his frame are both huge strengths. He’s a fluid, athletic guy that’s been more like a wide receiver in high school, and he uses that size and frame to high-point passes, meaning he has a skill for catching passes at the highest possible point in his leap. He makes catches in traffic, his hands are natural and effortless, and he shows good run-after-catch ability for a tight end.
And, as of Sunday, the Pickerington, OH native is the newest Spartan and member of the MSU community he’s already fallen in love with.
“Everything about the campus,” Gillison said of what he likes about Michigan State. “I really like the fans – the fan base is amazing, I really like the academics part of it, too. Every time I go up there, I feel at home.”
To add to that “homey” feeling, Trent will be joined at Michigan State by his high school teammate, Xavier Henderson.
“That’s my boy. He’s probably one of the best DBs in the Midwest, probably one of the best DBs in the nation at safety and cornerback. He’s a hard-hitter, very agile, very explosive, and he’s just a big playmaker,” Gillison raved of his friend and teammate.
“It’s amazing, because we were all talking about it growing up. Every kid’s dream is to go play at a D1 college, and to play in college with your friend, so it’s always cool knowing I’m about to go do it for real,” Trent explained.
When Trent and Xavier get to Michigan State, they’ll play under coaches that are admired and respected. Let’s start with Mark Dantonio.
“I really like how he’s a real honest guy,” Gillison said of his future college head coach. “I like the way he coaches his team, I like all of his coaching staff that he has with him, and I just like him as a person.”
Trent admitted that he always respects someone like Dantonio that will tell you the truth, even if you don’t always like the answer. “Yes, for sure, because if he tells me the truth, then he’s also telling me the things that I have to improve on.”
In that same respect, another element that Gillison admired was Dantonio’s faith. “As soon as we talked about me committing, the first thing he said to me was, ‘Did you pray about it?’ I was really excited about that, and I really appreciate that coming from him.”
The other coach Trent is excited about working with is the one he’ll be spending the most time with – the co-Offensive Coordinator and Tight Ends Coach, Jim Bollman.
“He’s always upbeat, he’s always in charge. I just really like Coach Bollman as a person in general; he brings so much to the table, he’s a really classy guy and I can’t wait to play for him.”
It’s not hard to tell this is a young man with an incredibly solid head on his shoulders. The root of that character comes from his family.
“I come from a Christian-based household. I live with my grandpa, my mom, my dad and my little brother, Tyler. My mom, my dad, my grandpa – they’ve sacrificed a lot for me to be the person I am today…with football and baseball, with them getting up at five o’clock in the morning to take me to baseball practices and baseball tournaments. And my little brother, he’s like my little manager – he just wants the best for me. I just love my family to death…they do so much for me,” Trent explained.
In regards to baseball, which he plays in high school also, Gillison says he wouldn’t mind playing in college, but that decision is up to his head coach.
“That would be pretty cool for me because I also like baseball, too. But if Coach Dantonio wants me at football, then I’m all football.”
Trent Gillison is someone that not only excels on the football (and baseball) field, but also is someone you can feel confident will represent his school with class, dignity and respect. Luckily for the Spartans, as of Sunday, that school is Michigan State.