By the end of this coming season, we will be thankful that Mike Gillislee fell into the 5th round. A projected 4th round prospect, he didn't tumble too far. Luckily for us, Gillislee was still available at 164.
At Florida, he paid his dues. Not becoming the starting running back until his senior season. To this, I say perfect. He has a low odometer.
In big games, which there are plenty of in the SEC, Gillislee played well.
At Texas A&M, trailing in the 4th quarter, he tight-roped his way down the sideline for the winning touchdown. Gillislee had a 1st quarter TD as well to go with 83 yards on 14 carries for an average of 5.9 yards per carry.
The following week, during a blowout at then ranked #23 Tennessee, he shared the glory and rushed 18 times for 115 yards at a 6.4 avg.
Two weeks later, in a war with then ranked #4 LSU, Gillislee was the bell cow and carried the Gators to victory against a very tough defense featuring 2 first round draft picks, #6 DE Barkevious Mingo and #18 FS Eric Reid plus second round pick #45 ILB Kevin Minter.
Throw in 3rd rounders #67 DT Bennie Logan, #69 CB Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu and #95 DE Sam Montgomery, LSU had a very, very good defense. Gillislee finished with 146 yards on 34 attempts, scoring 2 second half touchdowns. They put the ball in his hands with their season's hopes on the line and he didn't disappoint.
Two weeks after that, against then ranked #7 South Carolina, Gillislee had his worst performance against a ranked team. He rushed for only 37 yards on 19 carries during a 44-11 blow out win.
The following week, in a hard hitting 17-9 loss against then ranked #10 Georgia, Gillislee was held to only 77 yards on 22 carries. Believe me, in these big rivalry games, players love to pop eachother and Gillislee didn't fumble it away.
He finished the regular season at rival Florida State, then ranked #10, with 140 yards on 24 carries. Gillislee had 2 rushing touchdowns including one for 37 yards during the win.
In their Sugar Bowl loss to #21 Louisville, Gillislee rushed for only 48 yards on 9 carries as they fell behind early 24-3 and midway through the 4th the score was 33-9. Florida had to throw the ball so he had limited carries.
Gillislee finished the season with a respectable 1152 yards on 244 carries for a 4.7 avg. He rushed for 10 touchdowns. He also caught 16 passes for 159 yards and 1 touchdown. Not Heisman worthy numbers, but enough for him to be voted First Team All SEC.
What I like about Gillislee, at 5' 11", 208 lbs, he ran the ball hard inside, has great hands and he is more than willing to pass block.
Gillislee doesn't possess blinding, breakaway speed as he runs the 40 around 4.5 seconds but I can see him having a big impact on obvious passing downs. Gillislee will need some coaching in picking up blitzes, but he is more than capable of running patterns out of the backfield and catching some screen passes.
If, during training camp, Gillislee can demonstrate the ability to run hard and hang unto the ball he will supplant Danial Thomas as the backup to Lamar Miller. Thomas' butter fingers are making him expendible.
Gillislee does not posses any one great attribute that distinquishes himself above all other running backs. No, but he is a very good football player. And when all is said and done, that's exactly what you want to build your team with. Alot of very good football players.
So I am betting that Mike Gillislee winds up being our #2 running back and making us all very happy that he does.
Dolfan since 12/25/1971