• John Macon Gillespie

Dillard Says Admirals Have Enough Talent To Breakthrough

Athletes are driven by the goals they set. The great ones always seem to be fueled more and more with each passing achievement. It is the ability to move on to even greater successes that helps an athletes be consistent.

Similarly to the individuals that it consists of, a team is driven to achieve the goal which they set out to achieve before the season.

So with that in mind, it’s easy to see how a great individual can be the foundation for a great team. Most teams have a leader that does whatever it takes to pull his team through each hurdle.

For Gulfport that player is Karlos Dillard. Last season from his linebacker position he tallied 146 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, two interceptions and even two interceptions.

But the rising senior’s impact stretched far beyond what the statistics could ever show.

“My strength as a player would by my leadership,” Dillard told SES Mississippi. “My relentless attitude is a huge advantage. If you mix that with my football IQ, you can easily throw other players off their game.”

Now he wants to carry that forward as he moves into his final season for the Admirals.

“My goal is to continue being a leader. Your team is only as good as the leaders,” He explained. “I have to not only perform on a consistent basis, but I have to make the guys around me better. If my team is performing well, then I’m doing my job.”

The goal this fall is to breakthrough and advance in the playoffs, something Gulfport has struggled to do in the past decade. Dillard feels this spring served as a step in that direction.

“The team did well buying into our new offense. Personally, I improved my speed and fluidity,” Dillard said.

“I really believe this team has the talent to break the famous Gulfport one and done streak in the playoffs. We are kind of a young bunch, but like my sophomore year we have a lot of young guys willing to work day in and day out.”

While Dillard has been busy focusing on his team this offseason, he’s seen some of his own hard work pay off in the form of prestigious scholarship offers to play on the next level.

No, they haven’t come from the Southeastern conference, but instead Ivy League institutions Cornell and Princeton. Additionally, all three service academies - Army, Navy and Air Force - have offered, as well.

“It was a complete shock,” Dillard said of receiving the offers. “I felt honored because they don’t simply dish out scholarships. They saw something deeper in me, something more than athletics. I have to seriously consider them because I won’t have football forever.”

“It shows my hard work, on and off the field, is paying off. My parents instilled a strong urgency for education at a young age. My dad always said ‘Your athleticism will get you to college for free. Take advantage and don’t let it take advantage of your.’”

**Photo courtesy of Michael Hobby

#Gulfport #JohnLukeMcCord

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