At the halfway point of the unprecedented 2020 National Football League season, La’ie native and Chargers rookie defensive back Alohi Gilman has enjoyed the ride.
“It’s been great. The NFL is something that I’ve been dreaming about since I was a little kid, so it’s a pretty crazy and surreal moment every Sunday that I get to step out and play,” Gilman told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
Although the Chargers are off to a 2-6 start, Los Angeles has been one of the most buzz-worthy teams in the league as the young squad led behind fellow first year quarterback Justin Herbert with all but two of LA’s games have come down to the final play, including Sunday’s 31-26 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Through the first eight games of his NFL career, Gilman has made an impact primarily on special teams using his speed on kickoff coverage as the former Notre Dame standout has recorded two tackles to this point having played in seven games.
“It’s a great thing to be a part of but it comes with its challenges. It’s a long grind, a long season. Lots of growth and a lot of learning but I’ve enjoyed it all,” said Gilman.
This Sunday’s matchup will serve as a reunion of former Hawaii High School Football standouts in South Florida as the Kahuku graduate will travel to Miami to face the Dolphins featuring Saint Louis alum Tua Tagovailoa and Kamehameha’s Kamu Grugier-Hill.
“It’s really inspiring honestly. Just seeing the guys that you’ve sort of grew up with and seeing their progress and just to see them continue to push to get to the level that you are. It’s inspiring,” said Gilman. “I aspire to continue to work. I see the guys from my state doing the same thing. So, it’s going to be a special moment for sure. I’m so happy for Tua and Kamu. I remember watching Kamu when I was at Kamehameha Schools he was a beast. I’m excited and can’t wait for it.”
Gilman is hoping that he can get snaps in the defensive backfield on Sunday with a chance to slow down what has become ‘Tua-Mania’ for the Dolphins, as Miami has gone 2-0 with the rookie out of Alabama as the starting quarterback.
“I’m so excited, I’ve been watching Tua this past couple weeks since he was named the starter. I’m just so happy for him and the things that he’s been doing. I don’t think it surprises anyone, we all know what type of player he is, but just to see another Hawaii boy out there doing his thing, I’m excited to see him play. Although I hope he doesn’t have the best game against us, I’m rooting for him regardless. It’s always good to see another Hawaii boy, and hopefully I’ll be able to link up after the game.”
Kickoff between the Chargers and Dolphins is set for 11:00am HST on Sunday as is scheduled to be televised locally on CBS.