RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - At least three area high school seniors hold football scholarship offers from Big Ten programs. Two more from the Class of 2022 have also been offered by schools from that conference.
Tuesday’s decision by the Big Ten to postpone fall sports, including football, to the spring may very well have an impact on the fall of 2021, but that’s not souring at least two local student-athletes from strongly considering the league. The shake-up of Tuesday does not make programs from the conference any less of a possibility for Kelvin Gilliam and Eric McDaniels, who are focusing much more on relationships.
“I’m going to trust people at their word from the jump,” said Gilliam.
“I’m just really big on trust,” added McDaniels. “If the coach has my trust, I’m all in.”
Gilliam is a four-star defensive end from Highland Springs. He has his final list of schools down to 10, with Penn State and Minnesota among them. The rising senior is making sure to ask questions about plans in place during the pandemic to each program he’s considering.
“I’m hoping when they made the decision I just pray they had a plan with them as well. Going through this thing, you always have to make a decision with a plan B and a plan A,” Gilliam noted.
As for McDaniels, he’s starred as a running back for Henrico the last two seasons and is finishing up his high school tenure at Hopewell. Indiana, Maryland, Michigan and Michigan State are among his scholarship offers, and he is taking a glass-is-half-full approach to the potential of shorter schedules in the spring and fall of 2021.
“It’s more time for recovery of your body because nowadays it’s football, football, football,” the senior running back said. “You never know when it’s time to suit back up, so it wouldn’t really bother me.”
Both Gilliam and McDaniels will make their decisions soon, with Gilliam scheduled to make his announcement next Saturday, and both say their respective timetables will not change.
“I’m still going to make my commitment on Aug. 22,” affirmed Gilliam.
“I’m just ready to ball, man, so signing day can stay where it’s at,” McDaniels said. “I’m signing on that day.”
Both players have missed football, but also pointed out that a lot of things have been different during the pandemic, and the list of things each will appreciate once circumstances get closer to normal goes well beyond the game.
“It’s bigger than football at this point,” noted McDaniels. “You have people out there who actually, are actually losing their lives through the pandemic and stuff like that, so I just appreciate life.”
“Football, your jobs, your education... we all took that for granted,” Gilliam said. “When we get those things back, we just have to go full gas with these things.”
The Pac 12 also postponed fall sports on Tuesday, while as of now, the ACC, Big 12 and SEC plan to proceed with football in the fall.
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