"Presently, I find that my goals and passions are not the best fit with the Naval Academy. The Naval Academy is one of the best opportunities I have been a part of. It has helped to mold me into the man I am today. It has given me the opportunity to grow in all aspects of my life."
Those were some of the words Tweeted out by projected starting strong safety Alohi Gilman as he announced his decision to transfer away from the Naval Academy and use the rest of his collegiate eligibility elsewhere.
Gilman was an honorable mention All-American Athletic Conference selection as a freshman last season went on to confirm his decision, telling the Capital Gazette that "I've spent a lot of time thinking, pondering and praying about this. Ultimately, I feel very comfortable with the decision” and that "Unfortunately, the desire to become a Naval officer just wasn't there.”
This is a frustrating reminder to Ken Niumatalolo and his staff that coaching at the Naval Academy is unlike any other job (except for two) in the FBS. Players have to juggle their love of football with their military duty while on campus and, eventually, their military obligations after graduation. For some players this is a pulling factor as that is what they want to set them up for the rest of their lives, for others it can be a pushing factor and that seems to have been the case with Gilman.
It would have been very interesting to see if this decision had been made if the NFL Draft rules that allowed Keenan Reynolds to pursue a career in the league had been retained rather than overturned. Gilman had a sensational season as a freshman – he started 12 games and made 76 tackles – and it is easy to see the player projecting himself as a possible Sunday afternoon player. If he does see that, or if he was getting that advice, then under the current rules it makes sense for him to transfer out of the program.
It will be very interesting to see if this becomes a trend with talented underclassmen leaving Navy after a year or two in order to chase the NFL. Gilman is expected to sign with a Power 5 team (Notre Dame has been mentioned) so it will be worth keeping tabs on the defensive back to see how his career develops.
— Alohi Gilman (@alohigilman) June 1, 2017