One of the Coast’s top defensive players from the last two seasons has his first Division I scholarship offer.
Gulfport junior linebacker Karlos Dillard picked up an offer from Nicholls State receivers coach Sean Murphy on Friday.
“I was shocked actually,” Dillard said. “It’s my first offer and I’ve been waiting for this since I was a kid playing outside in the streets. I was really shocked.”
The Nicholls State staff made contact with Dillard after a strong sophomore season and they’ve kept an eye on him ever since.
“They said they really liked my upside and potential,” Dillard said. “He said, ‘I think you can really help us out on defense. We’d like to offer you a scholarship.’ I was kind of surprised because it came out of nowhere.”
Dillard had kept an eye on Nicholls State since they made first contact.
“I watched a couple of their games, including the one against Georgia,” he said. “Coach Murphy, he explained that they loved me. They like how I handle my business on the field and in the classroom. They think I can really help them on defense.”
Dillard is the second Coast football standout to receive a scholarship offer recently. Ocean Springs junior quarterback/receiver Malcolm Magee also picked up an offer from the Colonels.
Dillard was on his way to a visit to the South Alabama campus on Friday when he got the call from Murphy.
“They had a practice Friday night and we toured the facility,” Dillard said of his visit to USA. “It was a really nice ordeal.”
South Alabama defensive coordinator Kane Wommack, a former Southern Miss football player, took the time to visit with him.
“They really loved me and they were looking for a guy that fit their their mold, their style of defense,” Dillard said. “They wanted a downhill, aggressive linebacker that also knows the game. They think I fit that mold. He was pushing me to the head coach. He said he’d be in contact with me in a couple of days.”
The 6-foot-1, 213-pound Dillard made 146 tackles to lead Gulfport in 2016.
South Alabama and Nicholls State aren’t the only programs keeping in contact with Dillard. Tulane, Louisiana-Lafayette, Colorado State, Ole Miss, Louisville, Mississippi State and Jackson State have all made contact with Dillard.
Dillard, who left the Gulfport baseball team last week and plans to focus more on football, plans to visit Southern Miss ULL and Tulane in the future.
As the recruiting process heats up, Dillard said he will be relying on advice from his dad, an assistant on the Gulfport staff and his uncle, C.J. McClain, a former Arkansas linebacker.