The Gilmore name carries a lot of weight at Rock Hill’s South Pointe High School.
Stephon Gilmore led the Stallions to their first football state title in 2008. Now, he’s a Super Bowl champion and five-time Pro Bowl defensive back in the National Football League. He was drafted in 2012 by the Buffalo Bills, but later landed with the Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots.
Steven Gilmore Jr. helped South Pointe to four consecutive football state titles from 2014 to 2017 then went on to Marshall University. Earlier this month he signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Detroit Lions.
“I had already visited the Detroit Lions,” the 6-foot cornerback said. “I know they wanted me there. They were the only ones to send me on a visit. I’m just so grateful for the opportunity and ready to work.”
Growing up, Steven was constantly compared to his older brother. He said he’s ready to show the world that “Stephon’s younger brother” shows up nowhere on his birth certificate.
“It was just more so having another chip on my shoulder and having to prove people wrong,” Steven said. “Proving to people who I was and what I’m capable of.
“It kept me from settling with the success I have in this moment. Just always been hungry to do more and been ready to prove to people that I can do what I have to do my whole life. It just always adds a little bit more motivation for me.”
Steven’s parents said he has always been very competitive with Stephon, despite a nine-year age gap.
Steven watched Stephon as he progressed from South Pointe to the University of South Carolina to the NFL.
Steven wasn’t intimidated by Stephon’s success. Instead, parents say the younger Gilmore was motivated. That helped drive how passionate he is in football.
“He was always in Stephon’s shadow,” his father, Steven Sr., said. “Steven was always the type of person who wanted to make it on their own. It’s kind of tough coming up in Stephon’s shadow as his younger brother, but he worked hard to get to the point where he’s at right now.
“He’s been watching it all his life,” his mother, Linda, said. “At some point, it was a matter of him digging deep and doing that extra. He realized that even if you know the game and understand it, you still got to put in that extra. When we saw him doing that, and we knew he could do it, we knew it was up to him.”
Steven Jr. put up stellar numbers in his five-year career at Marshall.
He amassed 200 total tackles, 34 passes defended and nine interceptions for the Thundering Herd, helping the team to a winning record in each of his five seasons there.
His senior year, he made 41 total tackles and had three interceptions, including the game-sealing pick-six against then No. 8 Notre Dame in a 26-22 upset road win on Sept. 10.
He has been working out in Florida and at Marshall.
“I’m ready to try and stand out and do what I can to get better,” Steven Jr. said. “I just got to get locked in and showcase my talents. Let the coaches get to see me more than just my tape. I’m ready to get with everybody and compete.”
The Detroit Lions rookie minicamp is scheduled to run from May 12-14.