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July 8, 2013
Wisconsin filled its need at quarterback in the 2014 class on Monday evening as four-star D.J. Gillins chose UW over Boston College, Arizona and Georgia Tech, among others.
The Jacksonville (FL) Ribault standout made his decision public on "Three and Out" of the Southern Pigskin Radio Network.
"I am committing to the Wisconsin Badgers," Gillins said on the show. "I talked it over with my family and they loved the choice. Great academics, great school. And I actually had an uncle who I just met a couple of days ago who I barely knew, he graduated from Wisconsin and he told me stories about Wisconsin."
Gillins, 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, pledged to Texas Tech in early November, but was back on the market this spring. College coaches, such as Wisconsin offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, traveled to Florida to evaluate Gillins, who was offered by Wisconsin in late May.
"I love the fact that they have tradition (at Wisconsin) like 'Jump Around,' " Gillins said. "It's very fun to see. Wisconsin was also brutally honest with me. From Day 1 they were very honest."
After throwing for 2,677 yards and 31 touchdowns as a sophomore, Gillins suffered a torn ACL that wiped out much of his junior season. According to Ribault head coach Anthony Flynn, Gillins is progressing well and should be ready for his senior season.
"He's showing a lot of confidence in his knee," Flynn told BadgerBlitz.com. "He's keeping the brace on it, but on Thursday he was running the 40 (yard dash) and he looked good to me. I didn't know how fast he could run before the injury, but it looked good.
"As a matter of fact, I know one of our coaches said he recently ran a 4.6 (second) 40 and with that, that's good for Ribault."
According to Flynn, his quarterback's reach extends past the football field. Gillins is also an extension of the coaching staff and his leadership is evident heading into this final prep season.
"No. 1, D.J. is very smart and he's a student of the game; he's very competitive," Flynn said. "To give you an example, we were playing (Robert E.) Lee this spring and D.J. couldn't play. At halftime - I wasn't in the locker room - some of the players and coaches told me his leadership skills came out. You could see the tears in his eyes when he was telling his teammates, 'you have to play better than this,' and I know we're better than this.'
"So he has that coach's mentality as well. I'm very excited about the upcoming season. I think getting D.J. is like getting a great player and also a great leader and coach on the field. "He can throw every type of pass. Because he can do both things so well, I can see why he's ranked so highly as a dual-threat. Watching him throw the football, I can't wait for the fall."
Added Gillins: "I have the ability to pass and run. I can do it all. I'm a pocket passer but if you blitz I can destroy you on certain things. I'm pretty good at what I do."
Gillins is Wisconsin's 11th known commitment in the current class. He is the third four-star recruit for head coach Gary Andersen, joining offensive lineman Jaden Gault and defensive tackle Craig Evans.
Gillins was the fourth known offer (chronologically) at quarterback for the new coaching staff behind Kyle Allen (Texas A&M), DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame) and Nicodem Pierre (uncommitted).