But his priority is to get the best education possible. Intelligence, desire, and hard work can pay dividends at all levels of football and it is trait that Joe Gilliam has already honed. The 6' 2" 210 lb. linebacker is concerned about the best business school available where he can play football and receive an education in his chosen field. Indiana took him by surprise with an offer in December 2008. Then came offers from Northwestern and Purdue. There will be more to come for this talented linebacker.
Gilliam plans on making a decision about where he is going to play just before the season or during the season, but one thing is sure, he wants to see the schools first hand and look for the best fit. "I really don't feel pressure to make a quick decision," Gilliam said. "My family and I will decide together," he reiterated. He has already made an unofficial visit to Indiana. "The new facilities are big and nice and all the coaches were helpful. I could see myself playing for them." Gilliam stated easily.
However, there is the matter of unfinished business. Southport had a break out season in 2008 and Gilliam would like to see that success carry over to the 2009 season. "I think we can rollover the success from last year to this year…with each game I got more confident and that confidence should carry over to this season for our team." Gilliam stated. Gilliam also plays basketball for Southport and sees that both football and basketball help his quickness and agility. He still lifts during the winter and has seen no drop off in his strength since football ended.
Joe Gilliam impressed his head coach when he was a freshman. "I really thought that he could develop into a D1 type player when he was a freshman," Coach Bill Peebles shared. "He is a prototype 4-3 outside linebacker (Willie/Sammy). If he is going to play in the new 3-4 defenses, he will have to add some weight," Peebles surmised. Peebles went on to say, "He is the type of linebacker that can cover receivers, which I think schools are emphasizing more and Joe fits that need."
College football can be a risky business, but Joe Gilliam is no risk in academic ability, desire to excel in the classroom, and on the field. At least Indiana, Northwestern and Purdue are willing to take the risk thus far and there will probably be others.