This summer was a big one for Trinity Christian (Fla.) 2018 three-star linebacker Eriq Gilyard. He added offers from schools like Clemson, Nebraska, Georgia Tech and NC State.
Gilyard also made a series of visits this summer. And at midnight today, the first day schools were allowed to reach out to 2018 recruits, Gilyard said he heard from Clemson, LSU, NC State, Virginia Tech, Michigan and Penn State.
Gilyard has yet to slam the door on any school, but he does have a couple especially catching his eye. And more visits are coming this fall, as he gains more clarity in his recruitment.
“What I look for, it hasn’t changed,” Gilyard said. “I look for a school that gives me the best opportunity academically and to play right off the bat.”
This summer was also big for Gilyard because he was part of a road trip with a handful of players in the Jacksonville area to a number of schools. The group made stops at Virginia Tech, Georgia, Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue and Alabama.
“I liked all the schools in North Carolina,” Gilyard said. “We went to those back to back to back in one day. All of those are recruiting me pretty good. The coaching staffs showed a lot of love when I came down. They made it apparent they wanted me to get back and they took a lot of interest in me. I saw the atmospheres, too, which was nice.”
Gilyard has had a Virginia Tech offer since late April. But the Hokies have been on him for longer than that.
“It’s a nice school,” Gilyard said. “They’re really high on my list. Coach (Bud) Foster, he’s a very good coach. I know he has a lot of history with a lot of great linebackers. He came down to see me play in the spring. I’ve talked to him for a while and he showed a lot of interest. He’s said he wants me to come and was saying stuff like I could get a lot of playing time. I also like my recruiting coordinator, Coach (Charley) Wiles a lot, too.”
Wiles has been Gilyard’s primary contact for Virginia Tech and the two developed a good bond.
“Throughout the time we’ve talked, he always tells me about the program and how I would fit in,” Gilyard said. “Nothing has really changed since then.”
Of the schools recruiting him, though, Gilyard said he’s heard most from Nebraska and Clemson. Those also are two that have resonated most with him overall.
“Clemson, the day they offered me, Coach Scott showed they’re interested,” Gilyard said. “They all love my film and everything. They send me a lot of mail throughout the week. Nebraska, I talk to their coaches almost every day, especially the linebackers coach. He shows a lot of love.”
This fall, Gilyard said he plans to go to games at Penn State and Clemson. Aside from that, he’s playing his trips by ear.
And as far as the momentum he built this summer, Gilyard said he believes that hasn’t slowed yet. He finished with a team-high 13 tackles in Trinity Christian’s season-opening loss to Cocoa (Fla.) last week.
“Right now, I feel like I’m playing well, but I’m never satisfied with anything I do,” Gilyard said. “Right now, it’s about getting the defense better as a whole. When that happens a lot of plays will open up for everyone.”