Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Alohi Gilman Embraces Bad Blood Between USC & Notre Dame

October 9, 2019

Notre Dame captain Alohi Gilman has quickly become a fan favorite in South Bend over the last year, but he very well could have been a hated player when he decided to transfer from Navy.

Gilman settled on the Irish, but the Trojans were definitely in the race to land the Hawaii native.

“Notre Dame and USC were my top two coming out when I was transferring,” Gilman stated. “I was planning on taking an official visit (to USC) after Notre Dame and I ended up not and committed here. Both of them presented similar things of interest.

“Notre Dame was a place I felt comfortable with and a place I could see myself in the future. It matched my personality and who I was. I went with it and never looked back.”

It was just one of the many recruiting battles between the two schools and that is one reason why the rivalry is so special. Despite being on opposite ends of the country, Notre Dame and USC attract kids with similar personalities.

“Although we feel we’re different, I think we’re similar is ways,” explained Gilman. “It makes the rivalry even more sweet. Going into this whole process, everyone talks about when they were recruited or went on their visit to USC.

“There’s a lot of excitement going into this week.”

Gilman got his first true taste of the rivalry last year as Notre Dame won in Los Angeles to completed a perfect 12-0 season.

“It’s a great rivalry and everyone is amped up,” said Gilman. “It’s two schools with a lot of tradition, heart and passion. Coming to a school like this gives you even more pride. When we get on the field, there is a lot of bad blood, but it’s fun out there. It’s a rivalry you have to enjoy.

“I’ve only played them once, but since I’ve seen it on TV and being on the sideline my first year, you can tell people get after it. There is a lot of talking and different ways of competitive nature. It’s fun and we look forward to it.”

Has the emotionally charged Gilman done any trash talking?

“Have I done any talking,” laughed Gilman. “I might have, but we’ll keep that between me and them.”

A win would move Notre Dame to 5-1 heading into the bye week with a showdown with Michigan at the end of the month.

“It’s a lot of energy,” stated Gilman. “People take this seriously. Leading up to the week, preparation wise, it’s beat USC and that’s on the forefront of our mind. If you pull it off, you have to celebrate it.”

As for facing a USC true freshman quarterback, Gilman wasn’t giving Kedon Slovis or the Trojans any bulletin board material.

“We know he has the ability, so we’re preparing for his best,” said Gilman. “Everyone that plays there is really good. We have to prepare for the best and do what we can to win.”  

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