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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: James Gillespie, WR, Widener University

James Gillespie of Widener University is one of college football’s best kept secret. (Photo: Courtesy of Widener University)
  • Name: James Gillespie
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 195
  • Position: WR
  • College: Widener University 
  • Twitter: @11_jamesg

Tell us about your hometown, and what you love most about it?

• A small town outside of Philadelphia. Very suburban feel but very close to the city. It is the best place to be in the fall at the beginning of football season. What I love most about my hometown is the connection between people. Everyone knows everyone and it is a great area.

List these three in order of importance and why: Film Study, Strength and Conditioning and Practice?

• Practice, Film Study, Strength and Conditioning. Where these are all important, I am a big believer in “you practice how you play” and ultimately it is the most important to perform at your highest level in the game to help your team win. I would say film study is second because football is a mental game. With that comes knowing your opponent and being able to make reads quickly on the field. This also includes evaluating yourself in games and practice and ultimately making yourself a better player. Last, although still very important, strength and conditioning. Games are 4 quarters long and as a player you are expected to be able to perform for 4 full quarters so it is important to be physically prepared.

What do you worry about, and why?

• I worry about missing opportunities. Opportunity is all around us and I want to be able to recognize it and take advantage of it.

Give me an example of when you failed at something. How did you react and how did you overcome failure?

• My first couple semesters was a struggle for me in college. The work load was a lot. Not that I failed but I felt I wasn’t performing my very best. I learned time management skills and spent more time on my studies. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• I think they would say I am respectful. I do my job on the field and lead by example. I try not to treat myself or other teammates differently from others. It is a team game and I respect all my teammates equally whether they are a starting senior or a scout team freshman.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

• Austin Tennessee (Stevenson University)

What would your career be if you couldn’t play football? 

• I study business at school so something in business or accounting. I also really aspire to be a coach some day.

Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?

• Room. I don’t like being cluttered.

If there was a disaster and you could either save three strangers or one family member, which would you choose and why?

• Family member. Family is everything to me.

If you could be any television or movie character, who would you be and why?

• Jim Halpert (the office u.s). He works for Michael Scott who I am a huge fan of and feel like its fun to work there. 

Tell me about your biggest adversity in life and how you’ve dealt with or overcome it?

• My biggest adversity is that I am overlooked. I always have in high school and have been for some of college. I came from a high school program that produced 20+ Division I athletes over the 4 years I was there. I was never the one getting the accolades or awards, never the one in the paper. I kept my head down, started for three years, and did my job. I was lightly recruited by D3 schools and ended up coming to Widener. Here I feel I am overcoming the adversity by showing what I can do on the field to all the people who looked passed me in High school. 

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• Most embarrassing moment was first play of my high school career, went 60 yards on a post and fumbled on the goal line.

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

• My most memorable play came this year in Week 1. 3rd down and 20 in the 4th quarter while we are up three points. I made a great catch and got the first down. We later scored in the drive and we won the game by 10 points.

What song best describes your work ethic?

• Break My Stride- Matthew Wilder 

What is the most important trait you can have (Physical or Non-Physical) to help you succeed at the next level? 

• Having great football IQ. As a receiver its all about running concepts to pick defenses apart. I am constantly in the film room and trying to get mentally prepared for each day. Its important to know the playbook and concepts so it becomes second nature and you can just go out there and play instead of think.

If you could bring one person back from the dead for one day, who would it be and why?

• Freddy Mercury because I am a huge Queen fan.

If you were to open a dance club, what would you name it? 

• Jimmy G’s Disco 

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

• Adam Theilen. My favorite player because he is the most underrated player with a great story showing time and again that he belongs in the league.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

• Respected. As a freshman I came in and wasn’t liked by many of the senior receivers because I had taken spots on the depth chart but they respected me for what I was doing because I was trying to take advantage of opportunities.

What player who had his career derailed by off-field issues do you feel for the most and why?

• Josh Gordon. He had a lot of issues and it is an understandable issue as millions of people suffer from substance abuse. What really made me feel for him was the fact that he was trying his very best to get himself better and return to football. 

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

• I love to win. Everyone loses in life and you can’t hate it because it is a learning experience. It is something that will lead you to winning. 

Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?

•My father. At a young age he introduced me to this game and has been teaching me more and more ever since. As a father, coach, and best friend he is my biggest influence in everything I do. He has done so much for my mother and me and my siblings and all I ever want to do is make him proud.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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