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Notre Dame Football

Alohi Gilman Continuing to Carry Chip on Shoulder

March 1, 2020

Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman saw it all. 

Analysts and fans were split on his decision to enter the 2020 NFL Draft and Gilman would be the first to admit it wasn't easy to leave Notre Dame.

"It's was tough more so because I know how much it meant for me to go and play with those guys again," stated Gilman. "Playing college football is a special experience and specifically at Notre Dame. It's a unique experience you can't take from anywhere else. 

"To leave that was hard, but I know it was the right decision for me in my heart. I'm really blessed for all my experiences at Notre Dame and to be here." 

The Hawaii native trusted those around him and his heart to make his final call. 

Gilman knew whatever choice he made, it would be met with questions, but he's more than at peace with his decision.

"The craziest thing about this whole thing is you can argue both sides," said Gilman. "Draft grades, specific opinions from different people, but I feel ultimately where I was at in my career and how I felt in terms of in my heart and where I was at in my life. 

"At this point in my life, I was ready to take on the next steps and challenges. It was a hard decision, but I'm fully confident in my abilities and the next chapter of my life." 

The 5-foot-10, 201-pounder will now get to show his talents on Sunday afternoon as the defensive backs hit the field at the 2020 NFL Combine. 

"A lot of people have their own opinions, but for me, I want to show these guys - I feel I'm the most versatile safety in this draft class," explained Gilman. "I've told a bunch of teams and coaches that and I'm confident in that. I feel I can play in the box, deep safety, or in the slot. I can play in run packages and blitz packages. 

"I want to show these guys I'm a guy who can change a secondary back there. I have rare instincts guys may or not have. I think I bring that to the table every day. 

"Besides the off the field things with leadership, I feel my abilities speak for themselves as well."

Gilman has always battled uphill over his career and he met more adversity in the last month. 

At the Reese's Senior Bowl, Gilman had to leave the event after two days because of an injury.

"Overall, as a competitor, I was frustrated because I wanted to show more," Gilman said. "I know I had more in the tank, but at the same time, I put two great days together of practice. I was able to compete. I feel like I was able to show scouts my versatility in coverage. 

"I've heard a lot of great responses from it, so I'm grateful for that." 

Speaking of the uphill battle, Gilman enters Sunday's workout with the same chip on his shoulder that has got him to this point. 

"It's the story of my life," said Gilman. "People think I can't run, I can't cover, I can't do this. It's just another step for me to try and prove myself. I'm fully confident in that. I always knew I could run. I always knew I could do the things that a lot of people didn't think I can. 

"I'm just coming out here and I'm here to prove and make a statement. I'm just blessed to be out here and get that opportunity."

The doubt from those outside his circle is something that genuinely fuels Gilman and it will continue to light the fire. 

"I'm used to it at this point," explained Gilman. "It's really something that, every level I've been to, it has been the same scenario, same thing. So, just coming to this situation and seeing the same things, it just adds more of a chip on my shoulder, which is a great thing for me and a bad thing for other people. It's going to be a good experience."

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