He knew he has impressed Ludwig with a throwing session at his school earlier in the month and he knew the Badgers were interested, but he figured he would have to wait a little while longer for the scholarship offer. He was wrong.
A day after Scottsdale (AZ) Desert Mountain five-star quarterback Kyle Allen eliminated the Badgers from his list of favorites, Wisconsin extended its third scholarship to an uncommitted quarterback in the 6-3, 190-pound Gillins.
"I was really happy because I didn't think he was going to offer me," Gillins told Badger Nation. "He said he was very interested in me, which is what most people say, but he was talking to me, got the head coach on the phone and told me I had an offer from Wisconsin. I was excited. I was very excited."
Wisconsin's scholarship adds to an impressive list for Gillins - a three-star quarterback ranked No.55 in the country by Fox Sports Next. Currently holding 11 offers, Gillins says the Badgers – unlike some other high-profile quarterbacks – are among his list of favorites.
Spending his first three seasons at Eagles View Academy, also in Jacksonville, as the starter, Gillins has thrown for over 4,885 yards and 58 touchdowns to 22 interceptions. Gillins was primed for a big junior season when he tore his ACL in September 2012.
After Ludwig watched Gillins throw, Wisconsin's first-year offensive coordinator told him he liked the quarterback's release point, arm strength and his upside. When Gillins talked to head coach Gary Andersen, Wisconsin's coach marveled at the quarterback's resiliency in his recovery.
"I told him about the injury and he respected me, told me that I was going to come back even better," said Gillins, who says he has his 40-yard dash time to 4.5 by running track. "He was impressed with the way I could move around and throw. He told me I had the ability to do both."
Planning on camping at Louisville, Vanderbilt and Boston College this summer and not in a rush to make a decision, Gillins plans to make a visit to Wisconsin before the season. Until that point comes, Gillins is simply going to work, saying the offer from Wisconsin is going to push him to another level.
"I want to prove myself and get better at everything," said Gillins. "I know college is a lot harder."