MADISON - Seeing Wisconsin’s offense moving in the direction of a dual-threat quarterback under center, one would assume D.J. Gillins would be getting butterflies and excited about his chance to start competing for playing time in 2015.
In all honesty, Gillins isn’t thinking about his next chance to showcase his skills this upcoming spring. He knows he has a lot of work to do before then.
“I’m working on staying in the pocket more, working on my passing, my movement in the pocket, all the things I need to do well if I’m going to play,” said Gillins.
Returning for a fifth season, Badger Nation does a meet and greet with the newer members of the Wisconsin football team, shedding a light on some of the unknown kids that figure to be important parts of the Badgers’ future.
Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.
What’s been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?
Gillins: Balancing school, time management and practice. Those really are the three main ones. It takes time. You have to have a lot better organization. I have advisors that help me through the whole process.
What’s been the hardest part adjusting to college football?
Gillins: Biggest adjust to college football is college football. It’s facing reality. It’s like a dream, and I am grateful to be out here every day.
Since you arrived here, how have you changed your body to prepare for the college game?
Gillins: Since enrolling, I’ve gained a lot of weight, almost 25 pounds since I got here. I am up to 205 pounds. I feel good. I can still move like I can when I was at 180.
What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what your biggest areas of weaknesses?
Gillins: Biggest strengths, I want to say every area is a need to improve, but I think I have a strong arm. I run pretty well, and I am pretty good at escaping.
Besides the size, how is Madison different than your home town of Jacksonville?
Gillins: Right now Jacksonville is 85 degrees. This is like 30 (laughing). It’s cold.
Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?
Gillins: Sociology and probably kinesiology.
What’s your favorite place on the Madison campus?
Gillins: It has to be Camp Randall.
What’s your least favorite place on campus?
Gillins: The Humanities building.
What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?
Gillins: Really just lay back and go to sleep. I have to try to get as much rest as I can.
Who are you going to live with this fall? How are those relationships?
Gillins: I live with Lubern Figaro. It’s kind of fun. It’s different than living with (Michael) Deiter.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learn about Lubern?
Gillins: He loves to dance. He’s a dancer. He’s a big regge guy. Any dance really he’ll find a way to do it. He’ll practice in the mirror or something.
I know you weren’t assigned a big brother because you enrolled early, but was there a quarterback who you took some things away from?
Gillins: (Joel) Stave taught me the best about time management. He’s a great role model and a great guy to look up to. He’s incredibly nice. He’s like my big brother.
Where does your biggest support come from? Family? Friends? Teammates?
Gillins: I want to say my dad and mom back home. I’ve got a few friends that want to see me succeed in everything. I’m a visual person so if I end up doing wrong or doing bad in the field, I visualize my little cousins or my little sister looking at me and encouraging me.
What’s your parents reaction to you playing college football here, being on your own for the first time and starting your journey at this school?
Gillins: It’s a dream come true, because they knew I could do it. Growing up and not seeing too many people make it to college, it’s a great feeling.
What’s the best part of being a Wisconsin football player and putting on that red and white jersey?
Gillins: It’s a great experience, especially playing away. Those are the funniest times. When we played at Houston, that was my “welcome to college” moment.