GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Karlos Dillard was an efficient, aggressive linebacker, a defensive nightmare for quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. The 6-foot-1, 210 pound Dillard made 135 tackles, had 4.5 sacks and one interception during the season.
He's the WLOX 2017 Defensive Player of the Year.
Dillard said, "I told my teammates that I was going to put everything on the line for them. The coaches stressed, do your job, do your job and the line did their job which freed the linebackers. Helped me flow over the top to make a lot of tackles."
Gulfport head coach Eddie Pierce who will officially retire later this month, says Dillard's dad served on his coaching staff and that helped mold Karlos into a defensive standout. In two years Dillard piled up 281 tackles and 5 and 1/2 sacks.
Coach Pierce said, "He grew up around it and he's very intelligent about football. He understands the game which enables him to play fast. He's always where he's suppose to be."
Dillard also excels in the classroom and has received offers from the Air Force Academy, Army West Point, Cornell, Princeton, Jackson State, Alcorn State, Nicholls State and a couple of JUCOs.
Southern Miss has shown no interest in Dillard. That doesn't sit well with coach Pierce.
Coach Pierce said, "Here's Southern Miss, They can't fill their stadium but you've got a kid right here in Gulfport that's a really good football player and they have not talked to him."
Dillard says his mom stressed academics at an early age.
" You've got to be good in grades because no one is ever going to give you a chance, :said Dillard. "Grades equal opportunities."
Dillard is participating in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game set for noon on Saturday at M-M Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg. Maybe once Southern Miss coaches take a look at Karlos in action, the Golden Eagles may be in the hunt for his services.