It’s not often that a freshman can steal the show in his very first collegiate start but that was certainly the case on Sunday night.
Colorado true freshman linebacker Addison Gillam was easily the best defender on the field for the Buffaloes in their 41-27 win over rival Colorado State tallying 14 tackles (five solo, nine assisted) including one sack and two tackles for a loss. If Gillam wasn’t in on the tackle himself he was right in the area as he was flying around all evening making plays and his talent level was apparent to everyone watching.
Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre was thoroughly impressed by the true freshman, who he brought with him from San Jose State this offseason,
“He had 11 tackles at halftime. He’s a player and I”ve always known he’s a player since he was a junior in high school. Nobody looked at him but us, he’s 6-foot-3 235 pounds and runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, so I’m glad he’s here.”
Colorado fans will also be glad that he’s here. It’s been awhile since a true freshman has started at inside linebacker for the Buffaloes, not since another number 44 donned the black and gold in the form of Jordan Dizon back in 2004. He was nervous, as he admitted in the postgame interviews, but it definitely was not apparent by his play on the field. The mark of a confident player is watching him play fast and that was exactly how Gillam played. He played fast, he played within himself and he played without having to stop and think about whether what he was doing was correct or not.
With the debut that he had the comparisons to Dizon will continue to come as the season moves along so hopefully he can continue to play as consistent as he did on Sunday. If he can do that then the Buffaloes will have found their next great linebacker.