University of Cincinnati wide receiver/return specialist Mardy Gilyard dominated the Big East to the tune of 87 catches for 1,191 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior, adding three scores on punt and kickoff returns. He was named the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Year and first-team All-Big East in both 2008 and 2009.
Gilyard is also not hiding his high school arrest during interviews at the Senior Bowl.
“Character’s a big issue, so I tell them straight up,” Gilyard said. “I was arrested in high school for possession of marijuana and attempt to distribute. I didn’t have no problem telling (them) that.” Gilyard blames the arrest on being “young and dumb,” and says he isn’t proud of his past misdeeds.
While off-field issues will remain a red flag to teams considering Gilyard in April’s draft, his approach is admirable and smart. It also contrasts with that of Nebraska LB Cody Glenn last year. The Redskins’ fifth-round pick, Glenn lied about the reasons for his senior-year suspension to get truth seekers off his back.
Gilyard has drawn mixed reviews for his play down in Mobile. A projected late first- to second-round pick entering the event, the fifth-year senior has struggled with drops after measuring an inch and a half shorter and eight pounds lighter than he was listed at UC.
He’ll get a chance to make up for it in Saturday’s game.