D.J. Gillins - Bud Elliott (SB Nation Recruiting)
Colleges are anxious to see how Gillins responds from the ACL tear that cost him his junior season.
D.J. Gillins is a dual-threat junior quarterback out of Jacksonville (Fla.) Eagle's View Academy. He measures in at 6'3, 185, and runs a 40-yard dash between the 4.5 and 4.8 range. Gillins is listed as a four-star prospect by Rivals and 247 Sports. Scout currently slots him as a three-star recruit, and pegs him as the 26th-best in the 2014 class at his position. Gillins is getting better reviews from 247 Sports, as the site lists him as the best dual-threat quarterback for the class of 2014.
Texas Tech received a verbal commitment from Gillins on Nov. 6, 2012, but his recruiting process is far from over. Gillins also holds offers from North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Florida International, UMass, and Troy. Verbal commitments are non-binding and no commitment is official until the first Wednesday in February, otherwise known as National Signing Day.
To learn more about Gillins, check out @BlessedWhereIam.
Bud Elliott, National Recruiting Analyst:
Gillins tore his ACL which kept him out of his 2012 (junior season). On Feb. 1 of 2013, he posted the following to his Facebook, and it seems that he is expected to be full strength for his senior year.
Everybody worried about my ACL. Its been 4 1/2 months since surgery and yo boy ran 5 miles in 2 days at track practice. And my arm strength is better and stronger than ever. Im on the rise man, Im truly blessed. I was over-confident before, maybe to a point where some people thought it was arrogance. I learned my lesson, its about all the people that was with me in the beginning. Its a priviledge to play football, be D1-Bound, and recieve offers like I did. But God can easily take your gifts away. I need NO sympathy. I work hard, I play hard. I refuse to be a statistic; Minor Setback for a Major Comeback. And Im coming back right now better than ever. Best Believe It! God 1st
Because of the ACL tear, I'll evaluate Gillins based on his sophomore year and his performance in the summer of 2012 at the Jimbo Fisher Football Camp at Florida State.
I'll start with the negative, because there isn't much in that category. I expected Gillins to be head and shoulders above the other quarterbacks at the camp last summer, but he simply wasn't. Gillins didn't seem to have elite physical tools, though he certainly had enough to play at the major college level. Some expected him to end up as a five-star prospect, but I just didn't see it. Florida State didn't either, and his favorite school declined to extend a committable offer.
With that said, one camp is a very small sample set and it is very possible that Gillins could have had an off day.
His tape from his sophomore season of 2011 is very impressive for a sophomore. Evaluating quarterbacks as sophomores is much like evaluating baseball pitchers as sophomores -- it's tough. You have to project how much more arm strength is yet to come with the player's assumed growth and continued physical maturity. For a sophomore, Gillins showed good arm strength. He also showed good touch, floating the ball over the first level of defenders, but in front of the second.
Gillins does have some footwork and accuracy issues to clean up, but that is true for almost all high school quarterbacks.
He shows impressive athleticism and appears to be a true dual-threat quarterback, though how much his ACL injury has impacted him as a runner won't be known for another year, at which point his senior highlight film will be available. If it returns, Gillins could be a dangerous piece in a spread offense. As a sophomore, he profiled as a recruit who could develop the tools to be a starter at the major college level.
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