NEW ORLEANS — During the three years that he was not carrying the football for the Gators, tailback Mike Gillislee continued to hold on to one of his biggest goals he set for himself when he arrived at Florida. He wanted to one day have his picture hanging up in the running backs meeting room next to UF’s 1,000-yard rushers.

Well, following a rather remarkable senior season, Gillislee’s picture will be going up very soon next to Emmitt Smith, Ciatrick Fason and others.

“That’s a great feeling,” he said. “That’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I wanted to be remembered, and getting 1,000 yards, I think I’ll be remembered. Hopefully, when I come back next season, I’ll walk in the running backs room and see it. It would be a great feeling.”

All those rushing yards this season mean a lot. But his teammates say they also will remember the soft-spoken Gillislee for being the ultimate team player and a very humble guy.

“I love it,” said senior guard James Wilson, when asked how much he likes blocking for a player like Gillislee. “Every time he makes a play, he comes in and says,’It’s just because of you guys (on the offensive line).’ We appreciate that.”

Said offensive guard Jon Halapio: “He’s someone we highly respect in the locker room and we want to see him succeed.”

Wilson was asked if he’s ever been around a more humble athlete.

“Besides Tebow, probably not,” he said.

Gillislee said he’s looking forward to giving everything he has in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night. From there, he will move on to the Senior Bowl in January.

“It’s a great feeling,” Gillislee said of the recent invitation to the Senior Bowl. “It wasn’t something I expected, but I accepted the invitation and it’s an exciting feeling. It’s going to give me a great opportunity to perform for the scouts and the coaches that are there.”

Here’s a prediction: those NFL scouts and coaches are going to love what they see in Gillislee, the ultimate team guy.

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