IN FOCUS: Greg Gilmore
Communications Student Assistant
Greg Gilmore has tried it all.
The fifth-year nose tackle from Hope Mills, N.C. made headlines over the summer thanks to a peculiar workout regimen: pushing his car down the alleyway behind LSU’s indoor practice facility, a workout designed to focus on lowering the body and emphasize driving the feet.
In addition to moving motor vehicles, Gilmore has also tried boxing to improve his hand speed on pass rushes and yoga to push his endurance and flexibility.
“If you haven’t been to yoga in a while, it’s really hard,” Gilmore said. “It’s hot yoga, too. It’s like 90 degrees in there.”
“You really think about your life in there,” he added with a laugh.
The 300-pound nose tackle also played tennis growing up, which taught him footwork, hand-eye coordination and, most importantly, mental toughness.
“Tennis isn’t a team sport, so it’s not like I’m tapping out and somebody else comes in and gets fresh,” Gilmore said. “It’s you against the other person. I think that translated the most onto the football field.”
Named the No. 1 player in the state of North Carolina by ESPN and graded a five-star prospect by Scout.com, Gilmore was one of the most highly-recruited defensive linemen in the country, but he knew during his visit to Baton Rouge that LSU was where he wanted to continue his playing career.
“In North Carolina, I never heard about the LSU defensive line tradition until I came here,” Gilmore said. “It’s overbearing, it’s something you really have to take into account if you want to come play here.”
It’s taken a bit of an unconventional approach for Gilmore to make the transition from playing high school football in North Carolina to facing off against the best talent in the country at the collegiate level.
“I went against some big offensive line guys in high school, but that transition is always going to be big no matter where you go,” Gilmore said. “When you’re a freshman in college, you’re not the biggest guy out there anymore.”
During his redshirt freshman season, nothing prepared Gilmore for the rigors of fighting in the trenches of the SEC more than his own teammates.
“I remember being on scout team when I wasn’t as strong as guys like Trai Turner, Elliott Porter, La’el (Collins) and Vadal (Alexander),” Gilmore said. “That transition is going to be hard for any defensive lineman.”
It wasn’t until his first start against Western Kentucky in his sophomore season that Gilmore truly felt like he belonged.
“I think that was the moment for me, realizing I’m really part of this program,” Gilmore said. “It didn’t feel like that for a long time. I kind of felt like an outsider looking in.”
Fast forward two years and Gilmore is using his final season in the Purple and Gold to improve his play with every day that passes.
“I take every game that comes as my biggest game, to be honest.” Gilmore said. “I still have a lot to prove to people and prove to myself.”
In addition to improving himself, Gilmore is also utilizing his leadership role to help this season’s underclassmen avoid the same mistakes he made early in his collegiate career.
“My redshirt freshman year, I wasn’t really trying to get better,” Gilmore said. “That’s what I tell these young guys now, it doesn’t matter how old you are. You have to strive to get better.”
“I still encourage Ed, I want him to be the best player he can be at nose tackle since he’s going to take over next year,” Gilmore said. “And I want to really instill in Justin that this is such a good opportunity for him. I want to push him because I know he has the potential. I can see it in him because I’ve been here with so many other great players.”
As a firm believer in practicing patience when it comes to developing the skills needed to be a defensive lineman, Gilmore is the perfect example of how a relentless and maybe even unorthodox work ethic can get you where you need to be.
From the boxing ring to the tennis courts and everywhere in between, Gilmore has paid his dues to become the best player he can be, by whatever means necessary. Even if it means getting out of the driver’s seat and pushing the car himself.