The CSU football teamâ€™s most dangerous offensive threat in 2011 played defensive end for the Rams a year ago.
As a freshman Crockett Gillmore played in 11 games, recorded 11 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery.
But he was moved to tight end in the middle of spring practice and has established himself as quarterback Pete Thomasâ€™s favorite target and the most clutch performer for CSU.
In week one against the University of New Mexico, Gillmore hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass to help CSU win 14-10. Against CU-Boulder, Gillmore had a 34-yard catch-and-run to set up a first drive touchdown.
And in a 35-34 double-overtime win against Utah State University, Gillmore caught the game-tying two-point conversion before adding a touchdown reception in the first overtime.
â€œSome guys can just convert third downs, and score touchdowns and make plays, and thatâ€™s what he is,â€ coach Steve Fairchild said. â€œHeâ€™s proven that if we give him a chance to make a play heâ€™s going to make something happen.â€
Gillmore played wide receiver in high school. But, shortly after coming to CSU, he switched to the defensive side of the ball.
He performed well, but coaches and teammates knew that his future involved playing on the offensive side.
Last season Gillmore would go out before practice with Thomas and the receivers to run routes and catch balls. His great hands led his teammates to campaign for his position change.
â€œI knew beforehand,â€ Thomas said of the success Gillmore could have at tight end. â€œHalf the team was pushing coach to move him to tight end because we knew what he could do for us.â€
After finally making the change, Fairchild spent fall camp saying that he thought Gillmore would be one of the best tight ends in the county. And heâ€™s been proven right.
Gillmore ranks second among tight ends in the nation in receptions (16) and touchdowns (3). He is fifth in tight end receiving yards with 180. All of those numbers are first for all CSU receivers.
Gillmoreâ€™s size and speed make him almost impossible to cover. He is listed at a towering 6-foot-6 and 245-pounds and was timed at 4.72 in the 40-yard dash in high school. With those physical tools, he feels as if heâ€™s always open.
â€œThere have been a few times I told (Thomas), â€˜their best playerâ€™s on me, or this personâ€™s on me, but Iâ€™m open,â€™â€ Gillmore said. â€œHe just starts laughing, but Iâ€™m not playing. And I think he knows.â€
The rare skill set that Gillmore brings to the table meant that in high school the recruiters were numerous.
During his school visits, Gillmore went to the Missouri campus followed by CSU. He was then supposed to go to New Mexico.
But the minute he stepped onto the CSU campus, he knew where he was going.
â€œI went home and said â€˜Iâ€™m going there, Dad,â€™â€ Gillmore said.
And now that he has found his natural position, his future is wide open. It may seem premature, but there is already talk that Gillmore will be the next in a long line of Rams tight ends to make it to the NFL.
But no matter how high his prospects soar in the coming years, Gillmore says there will be no leaving early for the NFL.
â€œI need an education first,â€ said Gillmore, who said he would like to own a landscaping business at some point. â€œYouâ€™ve got to get your degree.â€
But once heâ€™s done with school, thereâ€™s no telling how far he might go.
â€œSkyâ€™s the limit for him,â€ tight ends coach Anthoney Hill said. â€œThe guy can do with this thing whatever he wants to do with it.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at email@example.com.
Stats: 16 receptions, 180 yards, 3 touchdowns (all rank 1st on team)