Stephon Gilmore has three suits to choose from to wear to the NFL draft next week at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
The South Carolina cornerback, one of two Gamecocks who will be in New York for the first round, has a bright blue suit, a gray pinstriped suit with a purple shirt, and a more conservative gray one.
Gilmore, who led Rock Hill South Pointe to a state title as a quarterback, has not decided which one hell wear.
Im going to see how I look in them, Gilmore said. I want to pick out something that looks good but not too flashy.
Good but not flashy also could describe Gilmore, who started all 40 games during his three-year college career.
Gilmore might not be as complete a corner as LSUs Morris Claiborne. He doesnt have the national championship resume of Alabamas Dre Kirkpatrick, and is not as big a talker as North Alabamas Janoris Jenkins.
But the 6-foot, 190-pounder with good size and great speed has quietly moved up the draft boards and is expected to be the second corner taken next week behind Claiborne. Next weeks trip to New York will be the latest flight for Gilmore, who has met individually with at least 10 teams.
Its been tiring, Gilmore said Tuesday from the Buffalo airport after visiting with the Bills. But its better to be wanted than worrying about how many teams youve visited.
Gilmore, who entered the draft after his junior season, finished his Gamecocks career with four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and eight interceptions, including one against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl in his final game.
South Carolina assistant Lorenzo Ward, who was Gilmores position coach before being named the Gamecocks defensive coordinator this offseason, said the only question scouts had about Gilmore last fall concerned his speed.
Gilmore answered it by running the 40 in 4.40 seconds at the combine. He said one scout timed him at 4.3 on a hand-held stopwatch.
It didnt surprise me. I always knew I ran a low-4.4, Gilmore said. I think my body was rested and I was just ready to go.
The other issue raised by scouts: Some say Gilmore plays too high and is not fluid in his backpedal.
Everybodys got something to work on. Youre not going to be perfect, Gilmore said. But you can work on things they say you need to work on. I know Ive got things to work on, but I know Im one of the best cornerbacks in this draft.
Ward thinks the talk of poor technique is nitpicking. He said Gilmore is a tough competitor who has no off-the-field baggage.
Hes solid all around. Not just as a player, hes solid as a person, Ward said. Hes a great kid. You dont have to worry about him getting into trouble. Hes a competitive young man.
Stevie Gilmore said he told his son when he was in third or fourth grade that his conduct would help determine his future.
I told him if you carry yourself in a good way and keep your nose clean, it will help you out at the next level in college and the NFL, Stevie Gilmore said.
Character issues have dogged a couple of the other corners in this years draft. Jenkins was dismissed from Florida following three marijuana-related arrests. And though he told reporters at the combine he stopped smoking pot at North Alabama, he has slid to the second round in most mock drafts.
Kirkpatrick also had a marijuana arrest, although the charge was later dropped.
I try to keep a clean slate, Gilmore said. I dont really worry about the other players. I just try to do what I know best.
Ward said Gilmores quiet nature belies a competitive spirit on game days. Ward pointed to the Gamecocks win against Alabama two years ago, when Gilmore ripped Julio Jones helmet off following a short completion.
Stephon always wants to go against the best players, Ward said. Thats why every day in 1-on-1s he wanted to go against Alshon Jeffery. He aint hiding from anybody.
Gilmore doesnt have a great read on which team will pick him. He visited recently with Panthers secondary coach Steve Wilks, hired in January after coaching for the San Diego Chargers.
(The Panthers) definitely need some help on the defensive side of the ball, he told me. But you dont actually know where theyre going to go, Gilmore said. He said theyve just got to sit down with their coaches and come up with a decision.
Gilmore met Wilks at the Shoneys in Rock Hill. Gilmore ordered the barbecue.
I didnt really want anything too fancy, he said.
But good, nonetheless.