• Matt Freeman-Irish Sports Daily

Alohi Gilman: "Just put me on the field"


2017 wasn’t an easy year for Alohi Gilman. The sophomore safety decided to transfer from Navy to Notre Dame but then was denied immediate eligibility to play for the Irish in 2017.

The 5-foot-10, 202-pounder spent his fall on the scout team, which is a role Gilman had never played in his life.

“I struggled every day with that,” Gilman said of the NCAA’s decision. I didn’t play scout team last year, so it was a different role. Watching on the sidelines kind of hurt, but I tried to take it in as much as I could.”

Gilman made the most of situation and turned it into a positive, which impressed head coach Brian Kelly.

“I couldn’t even begin to tell you what he does,” stated Kelly. “We have a 6:00 a.m. lift every Friday with our ‘developmental guys.' He has a meeting with them every Thursday to make sure everyone is there at 5:45 a.m.

“He’s a great leader. He is an impactful player on our demo team. He challenges all of our guys on a day-to-day basis. His presence is known in our program. Everyone respects him and knows he’s going to impact this program next year. He’s already doing it in the roles he can right now."

While he got positive reviews from the head coach, Kelly and other staff members had to tell Gilman to tone it down during the week.

“During the season, I got kicked off the scout team a bunch of times for being aggressive and just playing,” laughed Gilman. “I was too into it.

“Coach Long, coach (Brian) Kelly and coach Pryce (Tracy) tried to tone me down a little bit. Playing scout team is a little different than playing defense.”

Despite getting the boot from scout team at times, Gilman won Scout Team Player of the Year at The Echoes for the defensive side of the ball, but he also found out he wouldn’t be going to Orlando for the Citrus Bowl.

“I found out this week I am not able to go because of NCAA rules,” Gilman stated. “Undergraduate transfers are ineligible. I won’t be able to be part of that experience in Florida, so I’ll get a little extra time at home.”

As I am writing this article, the temperature is just warm 24 degrees, so giving Gilman more time in Hawaii might not be the worst decision the NCAA has made.

“I haven’t,” Gilman said when asked if he had been home since transferring to Notre Dame. “I was home for about a week in the summer, so it’s been a long time since then.

When Gilman returns to South Bend in January, it will be game on.

“The next step is getting ready for spring ball,” explained Gilman. “I felt I used the past season to prepare myself the best I could by working with coach Balis and the strength staff. I’m excited to move on to spring ball, fight for a job and contribute the best I can.”

Gilman has spent a lot of time with Matt Balis (Director of Football Performance) over the past few months, and he’s added just about 10 pounds of good weight since he arrived at Notre Dame.

“I was up to 204 at the most, but I’m probably 202 right now,” stated Gilman. “I came in at around 192-193. They aren’t too strict with my weight as long as I am putting on good weight. There isn’t a limit. Where I am at right now is a pretty good weight.”

While Gilman didn’t want to sit out, the time on sidelines provided a chance for him to learn the defense and see where he can fit in. Defensive coordinator had Gilman work at free safety and strong safety this fall.

“I learned a lot from the experience,” said Gilman. “I’m excited to get going for next year. Just put me on the field. I told Coach as long as I am on the field, I’m ready to go.”

Alohi Gilman: "Just put me on the field"

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