For Javae Gilmore, there was no better time than his 18th birthday to reveal his college decision.
After all, the Louisiana Swiss-Army knife was surrounded by his family, his aunt and uncle and even his older brother, Amani, a quarterback for North Texas — the right company to inform that he was planning college ball in the SEC at Mississippi State.
“It’s a good thing because I need to be closer home and I want my people to see me play,” Gilmore told Rivals of his decision to pledge to the Bulldogs. “Mississippi State has been there since Day 1.”
Gilmore returned to Starkville over the weekend to get another look at the sights and sounds, affirming his decision.
“I want my people there, my uncle and my auntie, my people … When ‘Mani went to Kentucky, we couldn’t do anything and I want them at every home game. I want to play as a freshman and I want to get on the field any way I can so they’re definitely gonna come see me whether it’s in the morning, the afternoon, at night or on the TV, you’re gonna see me.”
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound hybrid Amite (La.) High School defender plays multiple positions for his high school team, including receiver and tight end and also sees action on the defensive side of the ball as an edge defender, linebacker and even back deep at safety.
The State coaches have thrown out former Clemson first-rounder Isaiah Simmons as a comp for Gilmore, who embraces the “athlete” label.
“They said they see me playing multiple positions on defense,” he began. “They’re talking about me rushing off the edge, covering guys in the slot and playing strong safety. It’s a big hole on the team and I told them I can be that … I can be that person.”
This summer, Gilmore took visits out to Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Kentucky, Clemson, Michigan, Mississippi State and LSU. He worked out at various campuses and drew the eye of several coaches along the way.
“I had to wrestle with this decision,” he added. “At first, Mississippi State showed a lot of love and I loved State … It was hard to decide between LSU and Mississippi State, but I just loved the campus. It made it feel like home so I know that I’m in a good environment.”