July 9, 2018
By Brad Muller | More Features
For the second time this year, John Gilreath has made the team early. Gilreath graduated from Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, S.C., a semester early and made an impact for the South Carolina baseball team this spring. When the season ended, he joined the team at South Carolina's New and Creative Media Department as an intern, and he is already showing promise as a video editor/producer despite not having taken a class at the University in that area yet.
"I've learned a lot about the editing software we're using," Gilreath said. "I've learned a lot about different types of shots, exposures on shots, and how little things like that can make a difference in putting together a really nice production.
"It's definitely humbling. (Associate Athletics Director for New & Creative Media) Justin (King) wants me to be better and be the best I can be, so, I love it."
Although he is a criminal justice major with an interest in law enforcement careers, Gilreath had been interested in making videos for some time before he arrived at South Carolina, and had taken some video production classes in high school. He used to edit footage he would grab off the internet as a hobby, but he had never shot video and wanted to learn.
"I would pull footage online and would just try to tell a story from whatever was out there," Gilreath said. "I saw the `Welcome home' video Justin King had done with Marcus Lattimore, and I liked the song in it. I ended up reaching out to him on Twitter, and I sent him some of my work during our season."
Gilreath inquired about interning with King in the New and Creative Media Department once baseball season ended, and a schedule was worked out this summer where he could work with King's team if he took care of any off-season baseball responsibilities each day first.
"I love telling a story with it," Gilreath said. "I love inspirational stuff. It's amazing what a fan base can do when they're inspired. I want to do something that `pops.' You don't just throw clips together. You have to get into a lot of things, especially with the music. I love targeting and reaching a certain audience, which, for me, is South Carolina's fan base."
As he manages his academics and baseball schedule, Gilreath looks forward to getting behind the camera to tell the story for some of his fellow student-athletes in other sports. One of his recent football pieces, which he called "Dear SEC, we don't stop" and posted on his Twitter feed, received a lot of attention on social media.
"It had something like 20,000 views," Gilreath beamed. "That felt great!"
This is just where I want to be, so maybe this can be a platform for me if I'm good enough.
Gilreath still has plenty of time to choose a direction for his life after baseball. He's made tough decisions before, including his choice to come to college a semester early.
"Coming in early, I went through a lot of unknowns," Gilreath said. "Luckily, I had a great team to help get me acclimated. I was thrown into it right away, so there wasn't a lot of time to get acclimated anyway.
"I wasn't surprised that I was able to play right away. I worked hard. I had some early success, and I was thankful that the coaches had faith in me. I just built off that. I feel grateful that they gave me those opportunities."
Gilreath pitched in 24 games with three starts and struck out 44 batters in 40 innings of work for the Gamecocks at a time when he could have been pitching as a senior in high school and going to the prom.
"I went to prom my junior year, and it wasn't all that great," Gilreath said with a laugh. "For the record, it was a great date. It had nothing to do with that. It's funny because we were playing in the NCAA Regional this year when my high school's graduation was taking place, and (assistant) coach Mike Current said, `can you believe you're supposed to be graduating right now?' It worked out great for me."
That's not to say there weren't adjustments to be made in going from high school to college a semester before most students in his class.
"It was a culture shock for me at first," Gilreath said. "You go from with living with your parents to moving in with a couple of guys that were a little bit older than me. There are lots of little things, like doing your own laundry, not that I couldn't do it before. Just being 100 percent independent was a huge adjustment for me, and of course the level of competition on the field. You've got the best guys from every high school team on one team. It makes you feel blessed to be in a situation like that.
"You have to get adjusted to college first before you can even think about the baseball part, but I had to do both at the same time."
However, being a lifelong Gamecock fan made his choice a little easier.
"I was a South Carolina fan from day one," Gilreath said. "I have a picture of me when I was five or six years old, decked out in Gamecock stuff. I remember coming to a game when I was little, and Jackie Bradley, Jr., gave me his Gatorade cup, and I kept it. (Former Gamecock pitcher) Steven Neff (2008-2011) was my neighbor for a while, too, because I grew up in Lancaster."
As he continues to hone his craft on the diamond and learn new skills with his internship, his baseball teammates will certainly be glad to help him with his homework.
"They kind of joke around and ask if I want to do a day-in-the-life video about them," Gilreath said. "I just tell them they're life is boring. It will be interesting when we do our intro video next year. I think I'll stay away from shooting baseball because I'll want to be with my team, but I have no problem with wanting to put those guys in the spotlight. Those are great guys.
"I grew up a South Carolina fan. I always told my parents, when I'm done playing college and hopefully pro baseball, I'd always want to come back here whether it's coaching or working in the Athletics Department. This is just where I want to be, so maybe this can be a platform for me if I'm good enough."
- Women's Sports
- Fan Zone
- Gamecock Club
- Academic Services
- Active Gamecocks
- Annual Reports
- Brag Points
- Communications and Public Relations
- Community Outreach
- Compliance Services
- Facility Rentals
- Facility Projects
- Football Strength & Conditioning
- Gamecock Gala
- All Access