Sam Gillison | Misericordia University | WR
Twitter: @valid_gill | Instagram: @_validgill
Q: Tell us about your college career and what the recruiting process was like. Why did you choose Misericordia?
A: It was a blessing in disguise. I got injured 10 days before the first game of my senior season and it was a season ending injury. Up to that point, I was not in contact with any colleges heavily and I did not receive any offers. I thought my career was done. I did not have a lot of guidance as far as my options after high school. However, one of the coaches from Misericordia came to my high school and presented me with an opportunity to not only further my education but my playing career as well. It was in the spring of 2015, so I was eager to find a home as soon as possible. I visited Misericordia in May of 2015 before I graduated high school. When I arrived I toured the campus with my head coach and offensive coordinator. They talked to me heavily about the offense and what to look forward to if I was to choose Misericordia. It was a new program, 5 years out when I stepped foot on campus. It was an opportunity to take an unknown program and mold it and make it become known. Pending the circumstances, at the conclusion of the day I decided I was going to attend Misericordia and attempt to leave a lasting legacy.
Q: What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in your sports career so far?
A: My biggest accomplishment in my sports career so far is leaving my university as the leading receiver in the program’s history. I ended my career with 190 receptions, 2,814 yards, and 28 receiving touchdowns in 40 games played (2 bowl games).
Q: What do you consider to be one of the more important things you learned from the coaching staff while playing at Misericordia?
A: One of the more important things I learned from my coaching staff is that the majority of people do not care what you are like as a football player, they care about what you are like as a person. Character counts and people are going to judge you by your character before they judge you by your play on the field. My talent will get me in the room, but my character will keep me there.
Q: What was your major and what are your plans if football doesn’t work out?
A: My major is Business Administration with a Sport Specialization. My plan A is to play professionally and my plan B is to make plan A work. Once I exhaust all my potential avenues to play football professionally, I would use my degree to get into coaching. I know I love this game and if I am unable to make it professionally I want to inspire and help the next generation chase their dreams. In any way, shape, or form I have to be around the game.
Q: What would your current/past teammates say about you and your qualities?
A: My current and past teammates would say they can rely on me for anything on and off the field. We create bonds in the locker room and I love them like they are my brothers. I have created many lasting relationships because of the investment on and off the field. They would also say that I love the game with my entire heart and soul. I am passionate every time we step on the field. I expect greatness from everyone and nothing less. They would say they could count on me in critical moments. I push everyone to hold the highest standard. No matter what we do not let our standard slide.
Q: What has been one of the most memorable plays of your career at any level?
A: One of the most memorable plays of my career is when I tore my ACL in high school. It was then I realized I truly loved the game. It had never been taken from me before and I was beginning to take it for granted. Once I was not able to play for over a year, a fire ignited in me and that is when everything changed and football became my life.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge and how do you manage it?
A: My biggest challenge has always been being unknown. I come from a small city in South Jersey. I did not have the looks or offers coming out of high school so college coaches had no idea who I was. When I was doing 7v7, the coaches already had their guys and knew of the best players in South Jersey so I was just pushed to the back. In college, I was just another wideout looking for a chance to shine. I was able to manage it by continuing to trust in God and take advantage of every opportunity I was given, even if it was one time. I knew that eventually I would get a shot, and I knew that I would have to capitalize. So capitalize I did.
Q: If you could compare yourself to a pro athlete, who would that be and why?
A: As of late I feel like I can be compared to Deebo Samuel. He is very versatile and does a lot for the 49ers offense. He can make possession catches, he can run deep, he can make contested catches, he runs screens, and even take handoffs. I feel as though I am as versatile and can impact the offense in many ways. In my career, I have done everything at the wideout position.
Q: What is your biggest strength that you bring to a professional team and why should pro scouts consider you?
A: My biggest strength is versatility. I think I can do almost anything as a wideout. I can make third and fourth down conversions. I can run past corners and safeties. I can play in the slot or outside. I can make sideline catches. I can be a redzone threat. I can run screens. I can take handoffs in the backfield. I can run block. I can throw. Pro scouts should consider me because I am a different breed. I know if I got the chance I would show them that talent truly has no division. God has blessed me with a gift and I would like to contribute to an organization while providing low risk.
Q: Are you involved in mentoring, a charity or do you “give back”/”pay it forward” in your community?
A: Not officially, but I do consult with my coaches at Misericordia and help them guide and direct players on the team. If guys do not feel comfortable talking to the coaches I will talk to them and give them advice and suggestions.
Q: How are you preparing for the 2020 National Scouting Combine and what are your goals?
A: I am training everyday, lifting and running. I look up techniques to the combine drills and how to shave off time in the smallest of ways. I have upped my water intake. I am working on my explosiveness and acceleration as well. My initial goal is to be top 10 in at least 3 of the drills. However, my end goal is to get at least one team to really like me. Just like everything else in my life, all I need is one opportunity and I will capitalize.
Q: What would be your ultimate achievement?
A: My ultimate achievement would be to sign a long-term contract with an NFL team and win a SuperBowl. I want to make it so kids that go through injuries, go to a small DIII school, and have always been counted out will have someone they can look up to and say “If he didn’t give up, then neither should I.”
Q: What do you enjoy doing when not playing football?
A: I enjoy reading sport autobiographies entailing the careers of players. I find it interesting because we as fans don’t always know the full stories of what professional players deal with on a daily or even yearly basis. We put them on a pedestal and forget they are humans. So I read them just to get an understanding of how they deal with certain trauma like getting traded, or dropping a pass in a critical game, or a career-threatening injury, or even the ups and downs of how they get treated by the fans. I feel as though the more I read, the more information I get and the more prepared I can be when the time comes.
Q: Who is or has been the most influential person in your life?
A: The most influential person in my life without a doubt is my mother. She has been through it all and she is still standing. I watched her give her all in order to provide. Even when she was staring death in the face her faith never wavered. I watched my mother struggle to walk up 3 steps. She couldn’t lift bags of groceries without losing her breath. But she never gave up. She is the definition of a God-fearing woman. She is a true warrior. With all that she has been through, it would be embarrassing of me to even have a single thought of giving up.
Q: What is something unique about you that people would find interesting?
A: I am ambidextrous. I do sports activities with my right (throw a football, shoot a basketball, kick a football, throw a baseball). I do regular activities with my left (write, drink, use scissors, iron, etc).