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Neville Gallimore
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47Straight
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 Posted: Thu Oct 20th, 2016 08:23 pm

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A [Northern] Star in the Making
By Wes Moody
Communications Assistant
OCTOBER 20, 2016

In 2011, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops welcomed ESPN to document the Sooners’ August training camp in a four-part, all-access series. Practices, meetings, meals and nearly every other aspect of the team’s preparation for the 2011 campaign was recorded for the world to see.

Some 1,200 miles away, while then-Sooner stars Landry Jones, Kenny Stills, Ryan Broyles, Travis Lewis and the rest of the preseason-No. 1 Sooners were sweating through practice, a soon-to-be high school freshman named Neville Gallimore was glued to the TV.

“Eighth grade was when I really starting thinking that I could take [football] to another level,” Gallimore recalled. “In the ninth grade, during the summer time, my friends and I were sitting at home watching ESPN All-Access and Oklahoma. I was seeing the winning tradition that they had and what it felt like to be a part of a winning program. My friends would tell me, ‘Hey, that’s going to be you.’ I hoped, but it was so far away. So I continued to grind.”

Gallimore’s grind turned him into a top prospect, and he never lost that early love he found for Oklahoma. Now he’s living his dream.

St. Catharine’s, Ontario – where Gallimore attended high school – is located just west of Niagara Falls and a few miles south of Toronto across Lake Ontario. It is a far cry from traditional football country. While most people think of states like Texas, Florida and California as fertile recruiting grounds, Gallimore is proving that talent can be found all over the map.

A natural-born athlete, Gallimore grew up playing a whole host of sports in his native Ottawa, Ontario: soccer, basketball and volleyball to name a few. He always had a passion for competition, and early on, the physical nature of football caught his eye.

“I guess it would have to be when I was in the fourth grade,” Gallimore recalled. “I was actually at the basketball court shooting hoops and I saw a group of kids playing football in the field. I saw how aggressive they were, and that no one was complaining about it and no one was getting in trouble. So I asked to be a part of that. Playing with them, I just got a rush being able to hit someone, get hit and get back up.”

He joined a club team shortly thereafter and his football ability began to blossom. Gallimore, who is often tabbed by his Sooner teammates as one of the most athletic guys on the squad, started to turn some heads.

A few years after that first pickup game, he attended a football camp in Niagara Falls, Ontario. It was there where he earned the attention of Canada Prep Academy head coach Geoff McArthur.

“The opportunity that I had, I was blessed,” Gallimore said. “Coach McArthur did a lot for me. He’s really one of the main reasons why I’m here. I tried out at the camp and he just really saw the potential in me. Being part of that program, even though it was in Canada, he put me around a lot of football coaches. He really helped me get recruited.”

To get recruited, prospects need to be seen. That often means attending camps where college coaches can evaluate large numbers of players at once. With few such camps in Canada, Gallimore was often forced to drive hours in pursuit of his dream.
    
“I had to rely on a lot of family and a lot of people back at home,” Gallimore recalled. “They saw the dream that I had and wanted to do their best to get me to those camps.  They would take time out of their schedule to drive my friend and me four to 11 hours to camp. It was tough but you had to do it. If you have a dream like that, you’re willing to do whatever it takes.”

With strong performances at camps, and an impressive career at Canada Prep, the 6-foot-3, 310-pound Gallimore ended his prep career rated a consensus four-star prospect by recruiting services. He became the first Canadian player ever to be selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was the No. 1 prospect in his home country.

“It was huge,” Gallimore said of the Army Bowl invite. “That’s why I’ve got to give back, because God put the right people in my life to achieve those goals. My family, my close friends, they were looking at me and telling me, ‘What you’re doing is big.’ So just being able to claim that and have that title to me is huge. Because even as I was trying to get recruited as a Canadian, I was trying to break that barrier and show that you can find talent anywhere – not just in one place.”

Gallimore fielded offers from more than 30 schools, including most of college football’s traditional powers. After also carefully considering Alabama, Ohio State and USC, Gallimore chose to play his collegiate football for the program that had made an impression on him four years earlier – Oklahoma. He would become a Sooner, just like the players he had watched on TV as a ninth grader.

“OU was my 11th or 12th offer,” Gallimore said. “Being a Canadian kid and getting all that love and having all these coaches wanting to recruit me was a blessing. Oklahoma stood out because of the situation that I was in four or five years ago, just watching those guys go to battle (in the all-access feature). It was special to see that and then have that school call me. Everything happened for a reason.”

After a redshirt year in 2015, Gallimore finds himself in position to be a key contributor the remainder of this season. He has played in every game in 2016, gaining snaps in each contest, and made five tackles last week against Kansas State in his first career start. With six games and a potential bowl game remaining, Gallimore looks to be at the beginning of what could be his breakout stretch.

“It’s great,” Gallimore said of his expanding role. “But it also humbles you because even though I’m in a good situation and I worked hard for this, I’ve still got a long way to go. I’m not just content with being in this situation. I’m happy, but I know there’s more work to be done in terms of becoming a better football player, becoming a better defensive lineman, and being a better athlete or person as a whole. This is a stepping stone, but I know there’s more quality work to be done.”

Should Gallimore make the most of his prodigious talent, the Sooners’ already strong defensive front will have gained yet another valuable weapon.

http://www.soonersports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=31000&ATCLID=211240410

SoonerRick46
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 Posted: Thu Oct 20th, 2016 08:46 pm

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When you watch him closely, he has tremendous strength, agility and a very explosive first step. His technique gets better every week. He's going to be something before it's all said and done. From I was told last night, he's starting this week.

sybil
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 Posted: Thu Oct 20th, 2016 09:24 pm

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thanks for posting (y)

jdurrett
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 Posted: Thu Oct 20th, 2016 10:01 pm

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Somebody good has to take Walker's spot. Our biggest shortcoming for the last several years has been the D line(and O line). He is going to get better and finally turn out to be outstanding.

ArmySooner
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 Posted: Thu Oct 20th, 2016 10:31 pm

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He is in on so many plays. I figure he's OU's best chance at a 1st Team All American in a while on the Defensive Line. He's just on a different level than what we are used to.


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