"He's big obviously big, but I think it's his speed and quickness that separates him," South View head coach Randy Ledford said. "He moves real well for a guy that big. He has good feet and what he can do with his hips is amazing. "
Gilmore was a regular varsity contributor as freshman, but didn't become a fulltime starter until his sophomore season. Throughout his prep career, he has lined up at every position along the defensive line of South View's ‘50' defense, as well as tight end on offense.
"We use him wherever we need him and he makes a difference wherever he's at," Ledford said.
Gilmore made a big difference last season, making 79 tackles (including one for a safety and two sacks), forcing four fumbles, and blocking a field goal. He also had three receptions for 43 yards.
Gilmore estimates that 18 schools have offered him a scholarship, including California, Clemson, Florida, LSU, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech.
"He's had Oklahoma in, Ohio State, LSU hasn't been here but they've called him and talked to him," Ledford said. "Everybody around has basically offered him."
A couple of schools are recruiting Gilmore to play defensive end, his preferred position. But most project him as a defensive tackle – specifically as a three-technique.
"Most schools want to get some quickness inside," Ledford said. "And he has the frame to add the necessary bulk."
With basically his pick of schools, Gilmore has specific criteria for the program he ultimately signs with next February.
"Pretty much, the main thing is going to a program that's going to prepare me for the next level," Gilmore said. "I think a lot of schools can do that. So I want to have good connections so if I don't go to the NFL I'll be fortunate to have good connections that will help me in life. I don't want to go to a school where I'm just being recruited – where they just need me. Whatever school gives me that, that's what I'm going to take."
Gilmore, who is looking to make a verbal commitment at the All-American game he plays in, says his current top five consists of Clemson, Florida, LSU, NC State, and Tennessee, with Virginia Tech just outside the listing.
"Tennessee has a couple new coaches, they went 4-8, and they're looking to rebuild – so I think that would be a good situation for myself," Gilmore said. "Louisiana State, they're losing a lot of defensive linemen to the draft and they only signed one defensive end this year. Florida, they're in a rebuilding period and they had a great recruiting class, so that's another great situation. Clemson, that's a great school and that's like the best school in the ACC. If I went [to Clemson] I would have so much fun, because I love the coaching staff. NC State, that's a great school – that's an in-state school."
UNC has some ground to make up. A conversation Gilmore had with Larry Fedora and Vic Koenning put the Tar Heels on the right path.
"Pretty much, what they're saying is they're trying to close the border on North Carolina," Gilmore said. "And I think they can do it. I definitely want to see how they play next year, because if I could stay in-state and play good football, why not UNC? But, right now, I'm pretty intent on going to North Carolina State if I stay in-state. But I'm going to give [UNC] a chance."
Fedora also invited Gilmore to the UNC-Duke basketball game on Wednesday. Gilmore says there's a "60-percent" chance he'll make the trip.
Previously, Gilmore has visited Alabama, Clemson, and East Carolina.
Growing up, Gilmore rooted for Southern Cal. "The only reason why I liked their team is because I play NCAA football [the video game] and using that team is the only team I could beat my cousin with," Gilmore said. "Ever since then I started liking them and following them." USC hasn't shown Gilmore any interest thus far.