USC Gamecocks Football

Former Gamecock starting to heat up as his NFL team hits stretch toward playoffs

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) intercepts a pass intended for Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11) in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium.
New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) intercepts a pass intended for Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11) in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. USA TODAY

This season hasn’t gone as expected for Stephon Gilmore, but the former South Carolina Gamecocks star is stepping up as his team heads toward the homestretch before the start of the NFL playoffs.

Gilmore signed a rich contract with the New England Patriots in the offseason, and had great expectations thrust upon him after the cornerback left the Buffalo Bills for the Super Bowl champions. But Gilmore has struggled with injuries, consistency and picking up the schemes of Patriots coach and defensive wizard Bill Belichick.

But Gilmore has been coming on as of late and made on of his biggest plays of the season on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. With the Patriots AFC East rival driving for what looked like a sure score, Gilmore made an interception in the end zone to stifle Miami.

When Dolphins quarterback lofted a high pass in the left, front corner of the end zone, Gilmore cut in front of the intended target and picked off the pass.

The Rock Hill native returned the interception 20 yards, helping New England to a 35-17 win. Gilmore also has recorded a tackle and a pass defended for the Patriots.

This is Gilmore’s eighth game this season. After playing the first five games of the season, Gilmore missed significant time after suffering a concussion.

This interception was the second of the season for Gilmore, who picked off former Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson when the Patriots beat the Houston Texans earlier this season.

Gilmore left the Bills after five seasons and being selected to play in the 2016 Pro Bowl for the Patriots when he signed a five-year, $65 million contract, including an $18 million signing bonus.

Gilmore played for the gamecocks from 2009-11. He started as a true freshman, and was named Freshman All-American. He was named first team All-SEC twice and third team All-American in 2011.

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