Expect to hear more from Mr. Gilliam.

Sometimes when talking to an 18-year old I come away wondering. However, anyone talking to an 18-year old from the state of Florida by the name of Ryan Gilliam, just might walk away pumped up and very enthused. <br><br> Gilliam, a freshman cornerback for the Oregon Ducks, traveled a long way to play football. Any doubts that this young man is not clear and concise in his thinking are cleared when hearing his comments. He loves to play football, he loves to learn and he loves Eugene.

"I love the city of Eugene," said Gilliam with a bright smile and sure look in his eye. "I love the people here, they have welcomed me, from the team to the corner store."

Gilliam arrived in Eugene about three weeks before the start of the 2003 fall football camp. The young man for Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln HS, was a 4-star rated cornerback, and turned down offers from his home town Florida State Seminoles to head out west to Oregon. The 5-9, 158 pound defensive back brings the Ducks speed, a very solid foundation of football skills and the intangible ingredient of confidence and self-determination.

"I go out every day and expect to win every play, every quarter, every game," remarked Gilliam in a cool and calm voice.

Winning is something that comes natural to Ryan. He only lost three games as a high school player. He has realistic and grounded expectations that are refreshing for a young man his age. He attributes his outlook to his upbringing and in an age where taking responsibility for one's own actions is sometimes forgotten, Ryan Gilliam knows where the buck stops.

"I don't lose because the other team beat me," Gillian said candidly. "I lose because I lost to myself, that I did something wrong."

Don't expect though to see him losing much. He is intent on learning as much as he can about college football as soon as possible. He established a relationship with senior wide receiver Samie Parker, whom Gillam calls "his idol." Ryan wants to get as much as he can from Parker, and at the time of Media day on August 5th, Gilliam was astounded how much he has gleaned so far.

"We've got a big brother-little brother situation, where he picks on me a lot, and I'm learning a lot from him," laughed Ryan. "And he can pick on me all he wants!"

So what is it about Parker that impresses Ryan so much?

"I've seen speed like Samie has in Florida," Ryan commented. "But I've never seen anyone control it like he does."

Maybe more telling of Gilliam's character is the effect of Parker's influence.

"He (Parker) makes me be better and I respect that, I love it!" Gilliam exclaimed.

Based on the conversation I had with Ryan, it makes sense to me that Duck fans will be hearing much, much more from young Mr. Gilliam. He is articulate, polite, and respectful, answering question intelligently. He is a joy to talk to. Reporters are going to seek him out, because he has something to say.

Perhaps the lasting thing he told me was when I asked him about the 2003 Ducks.

"We've got everything in place," said Gilliam. "It's time to play football."

Gilliam and his teammates will start the season by traveling to Starksville, Mississippi on August 30th to play Mississippi State. The game will kickoff at 6 p.m. PDT and will be carried on ESPN2.

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