Diamond in the Rough: Gage Hildreth

Gage Hildreth is a class of 2023 defensive end/fullback out of East Beauregard High School in DeRidder, Louisiana. He is 6’0 and weighs in at about 235 lbs. On the offensive side, Gage is a physical downhill runner at the fullback position, a position that is not as popular as it was before. He is an aggressive runner who has no problem putting his head down, using his strength to fight through arm tackles and extend the play with his feet. Numerous times on film, I saw him carry multiple defenders with him to gain extra yards. When he hits the secondary and has a full head of steam, he can be a force to be reckoned with. Defensively, Gage is a good run stopper with great techniques. He does a great job of using his hands to split double-teams and going downhill to make a play on the ball. Gage comes off the ball violently, his explosiveness allows him to quickly get in the backfield and shut down a play before it even happens. Currently, Gage has a 4.0 GPA and was named to the LHSAA all-academic team. 

When did you start playing football?  

I think I started playing flag football when was younger, probably about 9 or 10

What is your best aspect as a player?

My strength. My strength helps a lot, especially when going up against guys that are bigger than me, because I’m not that big of a guy. There’s a lot of guys bigger than me, so strength helps.

Are there any current NFL or college players that you like to watch film on and model your game after?

On the d-line, I love to watch Aaron Donald. At end, I like to watch Jadeveon Clowney 

Did you have a personal goal for this season?

I set a goal for running the ball at full back. I wanted to get a thousand yards and I’m definitely going to hit that mark. I didn’t really have a goal going in on defense because I move around a lot. I play linebacker, defensive end, defensive tackle, kind of all it. So, I guess really just to get a bunch of tackles

Do you have preference in any positions you play on defense?

I like playing defensive end and edge rushing the most. At defensive end, I like keeping a distance better. I feel like on the line, the less contact the better. If you can get through that line quick on little contact, you can get in the backfield and make a tackle for loss fairly easy. At defensive end, a lot of times I play like a stand up end and I can move around better

What have you learned about yourself while playing football?

I play differently from a lot of people but being mad doesn’t help me. If I’m in a great mood, I’m going to play great. Definitely my attitude is just about everything, so I try to keep that positive at all times. As long as I have a positive attitude, I play good. Another thing that has helped is using my hands on defense

What motivates you? 

I’m a really competitive person. So I would say my biggest motivation is to be the best that I can. I try to be the best on the field at all times and obviously that can’t always happen. I’m always going to try to be my best and really it’s just to make it to college. I want to play college ball real bad and that’s one of my main motivations

Do you have any hobbies or play another sport?

I just do football and track, I throw the shot put in track. I mean this probably isn’t a hobby but I like to go fishing. I’ve only been fishing for about 3 years but I really got into it. I like fishing, playing football, and watching football, that’s just about all I do. 

Who would you say is your biggest role model or someone you might look up to?

I would have to say my Dad. I think he’s a good respectful guy. Football aside, my goal in life is to be a good man, but if people look up to me when I’m older, I just want to be a good role model. 

What do you love about the game of football? 

I love the contact. Well #1 would have to be the contact, and #2 is just hanging out with my teammates. I love the human aspect of the game. I’m definitely a team support guy. It helps so much having positive teammates around me and keeping them positive the best I can, it helps so much 

What separates you from the thousands of other recruits trying to play college football? 

I would say the thing that separates me the most is my heart for the sport. I absolutely love this sport and I spend just about every second of my life watching the sport, practicing the sport, working out for this sport. My heart for the sport is always there and second would be that I’m very coachable. I take coaching really easy, I have a good mental state, and a pretty good leadership aspect. I think those are a few things that separate me apart. You gotta have different qualities like that when you’re not the biggest guy on the field. When I have free time, I like to watch videos of Aaron Donald and Jadeveon Clowney, a lot of different examples on moves I can do to get better, different techniques, and footwork. That just really comes from heart and the love of the game. 

What is something that you would want college coaches to know about you?

I have a good leadership aspect, I can help lead the team and I play my heart out.