With degree in hand, Alohi Gilman is ready to fully pursue his NFL dream

Sports

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA – SEPTEMBER 28: Alohi Gilman #11 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish intercepts a pass intended for Hasise Dubois #8 of the Virginia Cavaliers during the second half at Notre Dame Stadium on September 28, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Alohi Gilman went surfing the same day he announced the biggest decision of his life.  

On Monday afternoon, the Kahuku alum and Notre Dame safety hit Keikis Beach on the North Shore. He also made his intentions to forego his final year of college eligibility to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft public via Twitter.

Although Gilman officially announced his decision on Monday, he said he was leaning heavily towards declaring a couple of weeks after ND’s final regular season game on Nov. 30, a 45-24 win for the Fighting Irish over Stanford, which happens to be where his little brother, Alaka’i is headed in the fall.

“It was a long process. You gotta weigh the options and look at the pros and cons of both. You kind of go through the process of feeling it out and trying to get as much information as possible,” Gilman told KHON2 on Monday evening. “Talking to coaches and different people to see where you’re at. But you kind of get a feeling of where you’re at.”

In order to pursue his lifelong NFL dream, Gilman opted out of one more year of being at Notre Dame, where the 2020 season would’ve been his final year of eligibility.

However, Gilman graduated with his degree in economics earlier this month. Combine that with the two stellar seasons he already had with one of the premier programs that college football has to offer, and there wasn’t much left for Gilman to prove.

Gilman started his college career at Navy in 2016. He transferred to Notre Dame prior to the 2017 season and had to sit out per NCAA rules. His presence was felt in a big way in 2018, racking up 95 tackles, three tackles for loss, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and five pass break-ups during his first season for the Fighting Irish.

In the 2019 season, Gilman registered 74 total tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and three forced fumbles as Notre Dame finished 11-2 on the year. His final college game was a 33-9 win over Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl on Dec. 28. Gilman closed out his career with eight tackles and a forced fumble against the Cyclones.

Gilman will train in Dallas, Texas during the pre-draft process. He is eligible to compete in the 2020 Senior Bowl which takes place on Jan. 25 in Mobile, Ala.

From there, he’ll also prepare for the NFL Scouting Combine, which takes place from Feb. 23 to March 2 in Indianapolis. He has not been officially invited to the combine yet, but he will almost certainly receive an invite after declaring early. He also plans to showcase his abilities during Notre Dame’s pro day, although the official date for it has not been announced yet.

Because it has only been two days since his final collegiate game, Gilman is not far removed from the grind of a full college season. Gilman understands he has to get his body right before he can go all out in his training.  

“I gotta start training and fixing up my wheels and training, making sure I’m rehabbing, training and getting my body back to full potential so that I’m able to train and be at my full peak by the time I need to compete, so that’s kind of where I’m at right now,” he said. “I’m trying to prepare myself, prepare my body to be a professional, to showcase what I got.”

Gilman says he projects to be a mid-round pick. The 2020 NFL Draft takes place from April 23 to 25. With school behind him, it’s all football for the time being.  

“It’s exciting,” Gilman said. “You kind of set your mind to it and it’s a process. You gotta enjoy and embrace it and there’s obviously a lot of work that I have to do. But I’m excited and ready for this next chapter in my life and ready to go.”

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