He helped the Hollidaysburg Tigers to a (10-3) record in 2007, recording 79 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery, and even a blocked punt on defense and 40 receptions, 676 yards (16.9 average) and six touchdowns as a wide receiver on offense.
But at this early stage of the recruiting game what makes Gildea an alluring prospect to Panthers fans is he grew up rooting for Pittsburgh.
"Everyone around me was a Penn State fan, but I always had a thing for Pitt," he said.
That enthusiasm came through at junior day. While Gildea said the nice things about the facilities at UPMC all recruits do, his enthusiasm after attending Pitt's 75-73 loss against Louisville was akin to a child coming back from his first baseball game.
"It was real close and fun! It came down to the end!"
Gildea was scheduled to attend Buffalo's junior day earlier but failed to make it when the family car suffered a flat tire on the way to New York.
Purdue stands out on that list since an older cousin, Bill Gildea, played defensive end for the Boilermakers from 1986-87; too late to play in the first night game at Pitt Stadium but just in time to call Rod Woodson a teammate.
Still, it seems Gildea's heart is in Oakland.
"I haven't thought about putting [schools] in order," he said, "but I really would like to go [to Pitt]."
Gildea will take his SAT this Saturday. He is considering engineering as a potential major.