Senior linebacker CJ Gildersleeve has been making big plays for the Saline football team since his sophomore year. That continued last week at Bedford, when he had a big tackle for a loss on a first quarter possession and when he led the team in tackles again.
Always a heart-and-soul player, Gildersleeve is now a leader on a defense that has exceeded all outside expectations.
Meet CJ Gildersleeve
Parents: Cory Gildersleeve and Kimberly Foley
Everyone questioned the defense – especially the relatively inexperienced defensive line. But the defense has been on point. Why has this defense beat expectations?
Our expectations are always high, we believe tradition never graduates and we are showing it. We are not just the most physical team on the field but the most fast and fundamentally sound defense out there.
You’ve been a starting linebacker since your sophomore year and been through the wars. Describe how you see your role on this team as a senior today.
My sophomore and junior year was more of a supportive role in doing all that I could do for my team and now, being a senior, it is my job to lead the defense to become championship caliber.
Describe what it meant to you to win that Bedford game:
It was great to see how are whole week of preparation paid off in the game, we practice like we play so in beating Bedford, there is no greater feeling.
Nobody expects Huron to beat Saline. How do you approach the game so that you don’t experience a let down after an emotional win?
Honestly the Bedford win was a great one but we will not stray away from staying discipline in practice to become better and better every week, it is another game for us to prepare for.
What do you like most about Friday nights at Hornet Stadium?
The best feeling is getting a win with my teamates at the end of the night with a great saline crowd. Knowing that the team did everything needed to get the job done is what Friday Nights are all about.
What's the goal for the team this year?
Win the SEC Red title and make it to Ford Field and finish the job by winning it.
Describe your gameday mentality in one word: Relentless
Song that gets you pumped up to play: Blood is Pumping
Do you have any gameday superstitions/routines?
Yes, I always run home after team dinners to get my headphones. I always leave them a home so I can go back and get them. I also listen to Low life by the Weeknd on the way there and Blood is Pumping on the way back.
Who is the funniest player on the team? Grant Armstrong, never fails to make me laugh
Who’s an unsung hero on this team? Honestly, I believe the whole D-line is, they do the dirty work so the back seven can make the play.
Other sports and extracurricular activities: Indoor and Outdoor Track.
Favorite subject in school: History or English
Favorite ice cream: Cookie dough
You’re committed to Central Michigan. Why did you choose CMU and what does it mean to you to have the chance to keep playing football after high school?
CMU has always been home to me, my father and uncle played football there and my mom went to school there. I have a great relationship with the coaches there also which made the choice even easier. It was my dream to be able to play college football after high school so I couldn't be more thankful and excited.