Stephon Gilmore, 6-foot-1, 180 pounds
ESPN 150 Watch List safety
South Point High School (Rock Hill, S.C.)
High school football coaches are always looking for the one athlete to count on in pressure situations. Lucky for South Pointe High head coach Bobby Carroll he has the multitalented Stephon Gilmore. This rangy, 6-foot-1 superman in cleats is a dual threat both as a quarterback and a safety.
The great thing about this accomplished athlete is that he's a team-first player.
"The greatest accomplishment I could have for the 2008 season is to help lead my team to a state championship," Gilmore said.
It would be difficult for this returning all-region, all-state prospect to do more on an individual basis than what he did during the 2007 season. As a quarterback, he threw for 1,800 yards and ran for another 1,200. He was also directly responsible for 32 touchdowns, 18 through the air and 14 on the ground.
Obviously in-state schools South Carolina and Clemson would love to land this smooth, gifted player. But Big Ten schools like Penn State and Ohio State along with SEC programs like LSU and Florida are also seeking his talents.
"I am looking for a school that has a strong academic reputation and a football program that can help me excel," he said. "I'm wide open at this point and I can't get caught up in all that right now. My first responsibility is to my high school".
Gilmore wants to play more on defense this season; that could very well be his position of choice at the collegiate level. He is also running the 100m, 4 x 100m and the 200m in track to improve his speed and already is an all-state performer in basketball.
He has also accepted an invitation to play in the 2009 Under Armour All-America Game.
"I am looking forward to the competition and meeting players from all over the country. My friend Charles Whitlock played in the game last year and said the whole week was a lot of fun."
Gilmore's Scouts Inc. Evaluation
Gilmore is one smooth athlete with great overall versatility and the upside to become a big-time playmaker at the next level. He is primarily used as a quarterback with this team but will be a safety in college and with more experience could end up being one of the best safeties this class could offer. He only seems to get a lot of time on defense on passing downs or when the opposing team crosses the 50-yard line.
He is fast, rangy and very athletic and has a natural instinct for making plays. On offense, he is the ideal spread-offense QB; he makes a ton of plays with his legs but will surprise you a bit with his arm and ability to keep defenses honest. He shows good size and is a lean prospect with flexibility, quick feet and very good speed. His initial quickness to elude the rush and create plays is outstanding. He can throw on the run to both sides and is such a dual threat on the perimeter because he has wide receiver/running back-type moves and acceleration both in traffic and in the open field. He is a very tough football player and ultra-competitive in all facets of the game.
From a defensive standpoint, he will need to add some strength and bulk to his frame, but he really flies around, plays big and in time will be extremely competent in both run support and coverage. He can play in space and his hips and feet give him some real cover possibilities. Overall, Gilmore is so athletic and has very good football instincts and awareness. We believe he could line up just about anywhere and be a premier player with minimal learning curve. Outstanding prospect.
Bill Conley worked at Ohio State for 17 years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Since retiring from Ohio State in 2004, Conley has worked as a contributor and analyst for Columbus-area print and broadcast media and as a professional speaker. He also published a book recounting his years as Buckeye recruiting coordinator, "Buckeye Bumper Crops."