11W Community Interview: Four-Star Running Back Signee Jaelen Gill

By Andrew Lind on March 31, 2018 at 8:10 am
Jaelen Gill

The 11W Community Interview is truly of the people, by the people and for the people. You submit the questions and then we pass them on to the biggest names in the world of Ohio State athletics.

Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class got a much-needed boost last March when Westerville South four-star running back Jaelen Gill pledged his services to the Buckeyes over more than 30 other offers from programs such as Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, UCLA, USC and Virginia Tech — though those attending the ceremony at his high school were in shock when his commitment video initially showed him donning a baby blue Bruins shirt. 

The short film quickly cut to Gill standing on the 50-yard line at Ohio Stadium, though, at which time he revealed his true intentions — much to the delight of all his family, friends, coaches and classmates in the audience.

The 6-foot-1, 182-pound Gill — a U.S. Army All-American and two-time The Opening Finals invitee — dealt with a nagging hamstring injury during his senior season, but still managed to rush for 911 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Wildcats last fall. He garnered third-team all-state honors for his efforts.

Also a very talented baseball player, Gill hopes to wrap up his high school athletic career by leading Westerville South to the state playoffs this spring. He’ll graduate in May and then enroll at Ohio State one month later. 

First, though, Gill took some time away from his busy schedule to sit down and talk with our readers about the first time he met head coach Urban Meyer, the moment he decided he wanted to be a Buckeye and much more in the latest 11W Community Interview.

What was it like talking to coach Urban Meyer for the first time? - Bucksknowwhatitis

JG: “I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous speaking to him the first time. He has a different presence than most coaches, but it was great.”

Who do you pattern your game after? - Seattle Linga

JG: “In all honesty, I️ don’t pattern my game after anyone. I️ mean, I️ watch highlights of guys like Tavon Austin, Percy Harvin and Curtis Samuel... but to keep it real, I️ just go out, work and play. I️ feel like I️ have my own style of play.”

Do you remember the exact moment that you knew you were going to be a Buckeye? Where and when was that moment? - KansasBuckeye

JG: “Yes, I️ remember the exact moment. I️ was in first period study hall around December of 2016, and it just hit me. Before that I️ wanted to either go to UCLA or USC. I️ called the coaching staff and talked with my family about it the same exact day.”

Everyone always assumed you were going to Ohio State. Did that expectation ever make you not want to be a Buckeye? - ITWASME

JG: “Other people’s opinions didn’t really affect how I️ felt about a school. I️ wanted to leave at first for my own personal reasons, but then I️ realized I️ just wanted to stay home and all of the benefits from [playing at] Ohio State made it too difficult to leave.”

How serious were you about possibly going to UCLA? - NHBuckeye

JG: “I was very serious. More about USC than UCLA, to be honest. They’re both very attractive for obvious reasons. The difference was just honestly where my heart truly was. My heart was home and I️ want to represent the 614 in the best possible way that I️ can.”

We've been hearing about your talent and smarts for several years now. I remember the same kind of buzz when Braxton Miller was coming up through high school. How do you stay humble and continue to improve? - Motobuckeye

JG: “I stay humble for the sole reason that I️ just don’t like when people’s heads are all big and they’re cocky. I️ carry myself with a lot of confidence, but sometimes people fail to see the difference. My family has always done a good job of making sure to keep me level-headed and reminding me to stay that way throughout the years. I️ continue to improve just by working at my craft as much as possible and in any way possible.”

Who is your favorite baseball player and what is your favorite team? - Stxbuck

JG: “My favorite baseball player is Alex Rodriguez. I’ve been a Yankees fan since I️ was a youngin’ and all of my family is from New Jersey/New York. My pops is a Mets fan, so we go at it all the time.”

In your opinion, what is the most important attribute for a running back to have - speed, agility or vision? - D-Day0043

JG: “In my opinion, a running back’s most important attribute is probably vision. Size, speed and strength all matter, but none of it helps if you can’t decipher where to go. The best running backs always have great vision. That’s usually one of the main things that sets them apart from the rest of the pack.”

What are your academic and athletic goals at The Ohio State University? - Osu78

JG: “My academic goals at Ohio State is to graduate in communications after three years with a business minor. My athletic goal is only one thing, and that is to win a national championship.”

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