As a true freshman, he leads the Buffaloes with 67 tackles, 13 of those coming at or behind the line of scrimmage.
Gillam is having the type of success that freshmen don't normally have. But, what Gillam is doing is not just impressive for a freshman. He's putting up numbers that a lot of seniors haven't put up.
Let's take a look at some of Gillam's impressive numbers and how they compare to other current and former Buffs.
1. Total tackles
Gillam is on pace to finish with 134 tackles this season. A year ago, Derrick Webb led the team with 88 and no Buff has reached 100 tackles since Jeff Smart in 2008 (118). Should Gillam get to 130 tackles, he'll join some elite company. Since 1990, here's a list of CU players that racked up at least 130 tackles in a season. All are linebackers unless noted:
|Ryan Sutter (DB)||1997||170|
At his current pace, Gillamwould finish his career with well over 500 tackles.
2. Tackles for loss
So far, Gillam has seven tackles for loss (TFL), including two sacks. That puts him on pace for 14 TFLs this season. That would be the highest total by a CU defender since linebacker Brad Jones had 14 in 2008.
Obviously, Gillam has a long way to go in his career, but at his current pace, if he stays healthy and gets 14 TFLs per season, he would finish his career with 56 - which would be the second most in program history (Alfred Williams had 59 from 1987-1990).
3. Tackle frequency
This is a stat I've never seen, and it may not mean much. But, I thought it was interesting: Gillam has made a tackle once every 6.13 snaps he has played. Some of the great linebackers of CU's past have dwarfed that number. Dizon, for example, had a tackle every 4.98 snaps as a senior in 2007.
But, in recent years, nobody has made stops as frequently as Gillam. Jeff Smart (5.82) and Marcus Burton (6.11) both topped that number in 2009, but Gillam has led that category since.
The top numbers from 2010-2013 (among players with 40-plus tackles for the season):
|Player||Year||Plays per tackle|
|Doug Rippy||2011||6.35 (played 7 of 13 games)|
|Anthony Perkins (DB)||2011||6.50|
|Jon Major||2010||6.51 (played 7 of 12 games)|
|Terrel Smith (DB)||2010||6.90|
This season, Gillam is by far CU's leader. Fellow linebackers Woodson Greer (7.73) and Derrick Webb (9.19) are next on the list, among players with at least 20 tackles.
All of these numbers confirm what we've all season this season, that Gillam is really good. Should he keep it up for all four years, he may just go down as one of the all-time greats.
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.