FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Four-star cornerback Anthony Gildon basically played on an All-American team during his senior season at Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian.
With around 12 players that will sign with Division I schools, Gildon is used to being surrounded by top flight talent. But he said all of that doesn't top the experience of getting a chance to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.
"First of all it's going to be a lot of fun, coming out here and playing against the greatest players in the country," Gildon, who is 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, said. "It's going to be a great way to transition to college."
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The transition to the off-season almost ended on a sour note for Oaks Christian. But in the California Division III state championship game against Santa Rosa (Calif.) Cardinal Newman, the defense stepped up and helped secure the title and Gildon played a big role in that with several key plays down the stretch.
"We pretty much tried to lose the game," Gildon said about the 27-20 victory in overtime.
"For me I never really had the feeling that we were going to lose. I always knew we were going to pull it out. We had our talk before the game, and we talked about how defenses win championships. So that's pretty much summed up the whole game for us in the end. We had to step up and make a big play, and we held them in the end to win the game in overtime."
Guildon has been a long-time commitment to Oregon, and it's a decision he's not regretted one bit.
"I committed, I don't even remember in July or something," he said.
"I don't really miss the recruiting process. I'd be getting calls, text messages all the time. That's stuff that would have just bothered me. This way it was good for me. I'm glad because I got to focus on my senior season and really enjoy it."
He's also enjoying working with five of his future Oregon teammates in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl. He said the Fab Five are just a piece of a great recruiting class that Oregon's putting together.
"We have a really good recruiting class," Gildon said. "That's going to be a big plus going in. We've got Carson York, Todd Doxey, Drew Davis, Casey Matthews and me here in the game. This is a showcase for Oregon for sure."
Gildon also hopes to turn the game into a big showcase for him personally.
"My personal goals is to play the best that I can and show everybody how good I really am," he said.