For the seventh year in a row, a former South Carolina football player will be suiting up for the Super Bowl.
Stephon Gilmore, who was at South Carolina from 2009-2011, will play cornerback for the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Gilmore had 45 tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions during the 2018 season. In addition, he was selected for the 2019 Pro Bowl and was also a 2018 Associated Press All-Pro selection.
As Gilmore reflects on his seventh season in the NFL, he looks back at his time in the garnet and black, and how it was so influential for his NFL career. He was named Freshman All-American in 2009, third All-American team in 2010 and first team All-SEC twice.
Gilmore credits his experience in playing in the 2010 SEC Championship Game in preparing him for the NFL.
"Going to the SEC Championship and playing against (Auburn's) Cam Newton was one of the moments when you realize how hard it is to win the championship," Gilmore told Gamecocks Online. "In the SEC, you can't overlook any team. It's sort of like a mini-version of the NFL. Being at South Carolina definitely prepared me for the NFL. I played against the best of the best in the SEC. So it wasn't as big of a change for me once I got to the NFL."
After originally being drafted to the Buffalo Bills in 2012, Gilmore signed with the Patriots in 2017. Gilmore also played for the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, when they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 41-33.
Even though he is stationed in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and travels across the country in the NFL, Gilmore spoke of his appreciation for the Gamecock fans in South Carolina.
"That's the place that made me who I am today," said Gilmore to WACH FOX on Jan. 29. "I love my Gamecocks, obviously, and I thank them for supporting me during the Super Bowl week."