JCFootball.com recently got in touch with Jilles to learn about his football history and goals for the upcoming season and beyond.
Thanks for taking time out from your busy schedule for a quick interview.
We haven't seen you since the JCFootball.com SoCal combine in May. Have you been
working hard since then?
Definitely. Since doing 11 reps of 225 at the combine I have increased it to 16 reps and counting.
You're not from California are you? Where did you go to high school?
I graduated from John Ehret High School in Louisiana in 2000.
What were your career or senior season stats in high school?
I was the starting center in high school
Ah, so not many reportable stats then. Were you recruited by any four-year schools out of HS?
Nichols State University offered me a scholarship.
What led you to the San Diego, California area and Grossmont College? That's a long ways from Louisiana.
There was a certain injury that kept me from thinking about playing college football until it started to get better. Then I thought about giving football a second chance. Plus, I was being recruited as a center when my natural position was slot receiver or tight end. I was out of position my senior year in high school.
Last year, Grossmont won every game except the finale, which was against San Francisco in the championship contest. What were some of the highlights from your freshman season?
In the championship game I had 7 tackles, a sack in the end zone for a safety, and a forced fumble. That was after only playing 2 games at defensive end. The state championship was one of the greatest games I had ever been a part off.
What were your stats last season?
In only four games at defensive end, I recorded 1 1/2 sacks, 6 hurries, 4 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, and 23 tackles total.
When will you have your AA degree?
I will receive my degree in December of 2004.
Are any four-year schools recruiting you right now?
Yes, the University of Washington, USC, Texas A&M, Arizona, Arizona State, Houston, Michigan State, and Louisiana-Lafayette.
Great list! Which of those schools seem to be recruiting you the hardest? Do you have any official offers yet?
USC, University of Washington, Houston, and Louisiana-Lafayette. I've got two offers so far.
What will be the most important factors, other than playing time obviously, that you'll consider when choosing a college?
What school will be able to provide me with the best education in the field I am going to study. Which coaching staff I feel most comfortable with. And the location of the school. Also, whether it is a true football school and how much they want to win!
What separates you from the other guys at your position that you've seen play?
My speed and quickness. Plus, I was a receiver and that makes me feel I am more athletic than most at the position. I also just run to the ball constantly.
Areas you're most focused on improving?
Well, coming from the offensive side to defense, I am working on developing more moves and counter moves. Taking my aggressiveness to another level. Finally, just getting stronger!!!
What have you been doing in the off season to improve your speed, strength, and skills?
I have been running with strength shoes, parachute, cord, as well as hitting the track for 100-meter sprints. Our strength and conditioning coach has been riding me all spring and summer trying to get me ready for the upcoming season. My d-line coach has been showing me a lot of moves that I cannot wait to try out. I also have a few that are my bread and butter!
Do you know what you'd like to study when you leave JC for a four-year college?
I will like to get into the Nursing Field and ultimately become a nurse practitioner or Physical Therapist.
How would your teammates describe you on and off of the football field?
They will say I am a hard worker on the field and in class. They will say that I think I am the funniest person ever. Hey, at least I get a good laugh. That I am a supportive person always trying to get everyone to improve.
When you're not playing football or in school, what are some of things you like to do?
I like hanging out with my friends having a good time. And since moving to San Diego from New Orleans I
love hitting the beach now.
Tell me something that's maybe a little unique about yourself:
I guess it's that I love to talk in front of large groups of people. For example, at my church I was in charge of the morning announcements. I had to give them to a church full of thousands. Nervous but fun.
Tell me about three or four other guys to watch for on your team next year
Quarterback Jarrod Jackson is an amazing athlete at the position; a true student of the game and he can use his 4.6 speed to make plays down the field or to take it to the house if he has to. He is like a coach on the field, who knows his offense inside and out.
Watching wide receiver Marques Clark is like watching Marvin Harrison (Colts) run routes for real. His hands are soft and he never drops the ball -- ask any coach on the staff. His leaping abilities are crazy and you can count on him having a lot of amazing plays next year.
Cornerback Darren Nixon with his 4.3 speed has scary cover skills and
keeps improving. He's a former wide receiver and
is one of the strongest players on the team. Watching
him and Marques go at each day in practice is nice. They're making each other
is constantly shocking everyone with his ability -- even the coaches.
Safety Zique McCurtis has great size and 4.4 speed. He is an amazing athlete with soft hands who could play receiver if he wants. His closing speed on the ball will make it hard for any wide receiver to be successful. He will be something to watch believe me. I think UCLA is interested.