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November 8, 2012
Rivals250 member Greg Gilmore of Hope Mills, N.C. said the hardest part of arriving at a decision between LSU and Florida boiled down to not wanting to regret his choice.
Gilmore painted a picture of one of the nation's top defensive lineman torn between two of the nation's most successful programs that both happen to reside in the Southeastern Conference.
When push came to shove, though, Gilmore lamented the fact that he simply couldn't pass up LSU for Florida and informed Tigers Head Coach Les Miles and staff on Wednesday of his intentions to wear purple and gold.
A day later Gilmore, a four-star prospect, made his declaration public when the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder announced at ESPNU's studios in Charlotte, N.C. that he had committed to LSU - pulling out a purple and black hat out of a nearby bag to commemorate the occasion.
"I was laying in the bed and couldn't get any sleep," Gilmore said after the nation-wide announcement. "I just did the "what ifs". I sat there with Florida and LSU. They're the same schools with different jerseys.
"What if I went to Florida and missed out on LSU?" Gilmore said. "Or what if I went to LSU and missed out on Florida? I think the biggest what if would be if I went to Florida and missed out at a chance at LSU."
Gilmore, who also considered Oklahoma, brings LSU's commitment total to 24 and pushed the Tigers ahead of Notre Dame and into second place in the national team rankings behind USC.
The Tigers now have pledges from 12 in-state prospect and 12 out-of-out-state pledges with Gilmore addressing a significant need on the defensive line where they could lose as many as six linemen after the 2012 season.
"I liked how they're losing six guys on the front," Gilmore said. "I think I can go in there and play early. I don't know how you cannot play in Tiger Stadium."
LSU now has commitments from Gilmore and Denham Springs' Tevin Lawson at the tackle position while recent commitment Christian LaCouture of Lincoln, Neb.-Southwest is considered a defensive end who has the flexibility of moving inside and could play tackle.
The Tigers also have commitments from defensive ends Lewis Neal of Wilson, N.C.-Hunt, Michael Patterson of Winnfield and Frank Herron of Memphis-Central.
"They're going to lose some great guys," Gilmore said.
"I hung out with those guys and they're really good people. I think they want to put me at three technique of course and play the inside and wreak havoc down there.
"I think I have a chance," Gilmore said. "Out of eight guys six are leaving so I may have a chance and that's all I want is a chance. I may die trying. As long as I get a chance is all I want."
LSU has been a major player since February when the Tigers first offered Gilmore. He immediately struck a chord with defensive coordinator John Chavis and defensive line coach Brick Haley and that relationship with the staff and the sixth-rated prospect in North Carolina never wavered.
Gilmore made an unofficial visit to LSU in the spring with his father and was accompanied by both his mother and father this past weekend on his official visit for the Alabama game.
Although LSU, which rallied from a 14-3 halftime deficit, dropped a 21-17 decision in the final minute of play the experience of Tiger Stadium amid the backdrop of a record crowd of 93,374 left a favorable impression.
"It was wild," Gilmore said. "I've never seen a crowd like that. They know who you are. When they know who I am that really got me and touched me a lot being just a regular guy trying to play football."
Gilmore returned home with his family Monday and spent the better part of the two days discussing his three options which was eventually whittled down to LSU and Florida.
LSU and Florida were both represented in those family discussions with his mother expressing her desire for Gilmore to attend Florida while his father was in LSU's corner.
"Those conversations were fierce," Gilmore said. "The main thing about Florida my mom liked were the direct flights and the education. There were a lot of plusses and minuses going on. It was a hard decision."