Continuing with the theme of wide receivers today, we come to a player that I hear a lot of fans speak positively about, and it's not surprising. He really has some great talents, and everyone loves a player that can score every time he touches the ball, a little like Leon Washington.
Mardy Gilyard actually had his scholarship revoked for poor academic performance in 2006, it would be easy for him to find another school, one that doesn't put much emphasis on academics and continue his climb to the NFL. Instead he lived with friends and sometimes slept in his car while working to make enough money to re-enroll. Cincinnati were pleased that he did.
He took to becoming a student athlete instead of just an athlete and enjoyed a great career there, he won numerous honours for his work on special teams and offence.
During the Senior Bowl, Gilyard was one of the players that really stuck out in individual drills and work outs. He also went for 103 yards and a TD in the actual game.
"This game sums up everything, because I've been through all the hard work, all the ups and all the downs, the peaks and the valleys," said Gilyard, who eventually won back his scholarship. "I've been through everything. I've been from the brown sticky stuff at the bottom of the barrel to the cream at the top of the coffee."
The hard work is about to get harder for Gilyard.
2005- No receiving stats, 7 kicks returned for 176 yards
2007- 12 games played, 36 receptions, 536 yards, 3 TD. 7 PR for 50 yards, 8 KR for 213 yards
2008- 14 games played, 81 receptions, 1276 yards, 11 TD. 36 KR 994 yards, 2 TD's
2009- 13 games played, 87 receptions, 1191 yards, 11 TD's. 36 PR for 202 yards 1 TD. 42 KR 1281 yards, 2 TD's.
Career Awards & Achievement
2008 First Team All Big East
2009 First Team All Big East
2008 Big East Special Teams Player Of The Year
2009 Big East Special Teams Player Of The Year
2009 All American (AFCA-Coaches)
More after the jump
What does Gilyard Do Well?
Gilyard is explosive, he really is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Gets very good acceleration off the snap, and pushes hard off the line. Has very good hands, catches the ball away from the body, and can make adjustments on badly thrown footballs. Very elusive in space, uses his blockers well, waits for the play to develop before bursting through any openings. A reliable kick returner who has shown he can take it to the house. Can get good separation, can often find the soft sports in the zone to exploit. Doesn't hesitate in working over the middle, and can catch in traffic, has good instincts to find the hole.
What does Gilyard need to work on?
Gilyard needs to work on his route running, often struggles to get off the line against press coverage, doesn't use his hands enough to beat the jam, because of this his size/strength are more noticeable compared to someone like Shipley. Weighs in at just over 185lb's. Needs to work on his blocking, is average in college so will probably be poor in the NFL. Doesn't go up and get the ball, but will fight for it coming over the shoulder.
Gilyard is most definitely a second round prospect, bottom of the 2nd as well, so if we did miss out on Shipley/Tate then taking Gilyard would be the next best thing. A very dangerous player, very explosive, like his toughness and his returning skills. Does have some durability concerns which worry me for a player who we will likely rely on to go over the middle. Nice player, would be happy to have him in the 2nd, if we can't bag Shipley. Is my 3rd choice for potential wide receiver selections behind Tate and Shipley.
My Top 5 (In no particular order right now)
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