Jaelen Gill started playing the game of football when he was five years old. With his parents support, he has come a long way since then.
“…They always told me if I start something, not to quit. They’ve always been supportive. They’re going to support me whether I decided to quit [playing] football today or something and whatever I do, I know they’re going to support me and have my back so I think they’ve played the biggest role in my life,” he said.
Gill grew up in Columbus, Ohio and Westerville, Ohio and said that living in Columbus made him tough. Living in Westerville, he’s in a good environment where the support of family and friends has made him the person he is today.
“I play videogames and I like fishing, those are some hobbies I like. [With] videogames, I’ve played since I was really little. My dad used to whoop me in [them] and he wouldn’t let me quit. Eventually, I started beating him and I don’t quit in anything [now]. Fishing is something that my grandpa and I would do all of the time and I’ve always loved [it],” Gill said about what he does when he’s not on the field.
These days, Gill is preparing to participate in the “The Opening,” Finals July 7-10 for Team Mach Speed and the invite was unexpected.
“It’s been great because I didn’t think I’d get the call this year. It was an honor to be the first underclassman invited and to be invited in general. It’s been great. I’m just excited to compete and show everyone on TV what I can do. It will put not only Westerville South [High School] but Westerville, Ohio even more on the map than it already is,” he said.
According to 247Sports, Jaelen Gill is a four-star all-purpose back in the 2018 class, the 19th best player nationally, the best all-purpose back and the best player in Ohio. He has received a total of 21 scholarship offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, Penn State and more. In 2015, he recorded 1,553 rushing yards on 189 carries and scored 19 times for the Westerville South Wildcats. He also caught the ball seven times for 224 yards and three touchdowns.
“All of the bigger schools that I named, I have a pretty high interest in because they all have good programs. Wherever I graduate from, out of those schools, I’m going to have a good degree. All of them have good business and communications programs. I’m looking to major in one of the two.
He is also looking for a school that has a city he can be comfortable living in, a school that can help him succeed after football and one that has a family atmosphere.
“A place that I can always call home,” he said.
“I’d probably say slot [receiver] because at slot I can get carries, run routes and catch the ball. …I can do both at that position. I like running back most and I’m just as effective at that because I can run routes out of the backfield and get handoffs, so one of those two,” Gill said about where he is more effective on the field.
“He has got amazing acceleration and speed. In only a matter of two steps, three steps and he’s at full speed. He makes one cut and he’s gone. He has got great vision, he’s dangerous in the open field, you just have to sit back and you’re in awe of some of the things that he can do in the open field and the moves he makes. I think when he continues to go, he’s physical at times when he needs [to be] and that’s what I’ve been the most impressed at,” Westerville South head football coach Kyle Stout said.
Stout has only spent one season coaching Gill but believes he is a special player and he’s starting to grow in areas such as the way he’s training in the weight room and the way he’s taking over and being a real vocal leader on the team.
“It’s part of that transformation, which kind of started halfway through the year where he was a more vocal leader as a sophomore. I think he realizes he has the most experience on our team starting as a freshman and it’s kind of his team now,” he said.
Stout also said that the sky is the limit for Gill and in talking to a lot of college coaches, Gill is a top prospect on their boards and he can succeed in more than one role.
“…Whether he’s a running back, slot receiver or a hybrid type player, he’s going to go as far as he wants to go. I tell every college coach he’s a once in a lifetime type that you’re going to coach as a high school head coach.”