UAPB’s Jamie Gillan, a former Scottish rugby player, could hear named called in NFL Draft
PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KATV) — Jamie Gillan’s story has the makings of a Hollywood film, although an important part will be written this week.
Gillan, Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s punter and kicker, is hoping to hear his name called in the NFL Draft. (You can watch coverage on KATV starting Thursday night).
KATV first featured Gillan in this April, 2018 Beyond the Game story. Within the last week, experts on NFL Network have started to sing his praises – not just for his powerful punts.
“I don’t want to let it get to my head or anything like that. I just try to keep it low key in my head. Deep inside me though, I’m really happy and excited and it’s just an incredible experience. I’m enjoying every second of it,” he said.
Born in England, Gillan grew up in Scotland. Naturally, he played rugby. He even earned a scholarship to play the sport at a boarding school. But when his father, a member of the Royal Armed Forces, was assigned to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Jamie came with him. Football quickly caught his eye.
“I just happen to see someone miss an extra point and I’m like, ‘I’m pretty sure I can do that,"” he told KATV in 2018.
He decided to kick for his high school team in Leonardtown, Maryland. A friend noticed a Facebook post that said UAPB was looking for a kicker. They were offering a full scholarship.
Sight unseen, Gillan accepted. He called his move to Pine Bluff a “culture shock.”
“I didn’t even know Arkansas existed. They were like, ‘you want to come and play football for us?’ I was like, ‘yeah, I’m in!"”
His gamble paid off. With NFL scouts starting to take notice, he averaged 42.5 yards per punt this season. He demonstrated the willingness to run downfield and tackle. He even showed off his unorthodox rugby style kick.
His draft stock started to rise after a strong performance at Arkansas State’s pro day. He also won the Gary Zauner NFL combine, a pre-draft gathering geared toward special teams players. He earned the nickname, “Scottish Hammer.”
The Browns flew him to Cleveland for a private workout. Multiple teams have traveled to Pine Bluff to see for themselves. A total of 19 teams, in fact, have called him. All of them have to be staggered by his story.
“A lot of people find it quite absurd.”
He will keep his phone nearby during this week’s draft. If it rings, it would be another wrinkle to an already preposterous tale.
“I’m not nervous at all. I’m just excited to see what happens.
“It’s going to be really awesome. I’ve got goosebumps thinking about it right now.”