KINGMAN - Northern Arizona offensive line coach Eric Reid remembers the first time he saw Trey Gilleo walk onto a football field.
Gilleo, a 2008 graduate of Kingman High, was tall and skinny during his redshirt freshman year. Today, the 6-foot-6 linemen weighs in at over 300 pounds as he looks to build on the success from his sophomore year when he was named Big Sky Conference honorable mention.
"He has a tremendous work ethic, one thing that was instilled in him by his parents," Reid said. "He works hard.
"He came in as a freshman, 6-6, 219 pounds, and midway through this summer he's 6-6, 310 pounds. And he did that the right way, through hard work and eating right, and I think it's a tribute to his work ethic and what his parents instilled on him."
Last year, Gilleo was part of an offensive line that helped the Lumberjacks gain 1,516 rushing yards on 403 attempts while giving up just 17 sacks.
"It is nice to get recognized," Gilleo said. "I was one of the younger guys on the starting offense, so it was really nice to get noticed. I worked hard and it gives me motivation to try and get first or second team (all-Big Sky) this year."
Being named first team all conference is something that Reid feels is in the realm of possibility, but the same work ethic that got Gilleo to where he's at now will also have to carry him to the next level.
"I think it's definitely within his grasp," Reid said. "There are a few good tackles in this league and he is going to have to outshine them. And the way he's going to have do that is the way he got himself to where he's at today."
The work that Gilleo has put in to improve his performance on the field has also helped him off it.
When he arrived in Flagstaff in the fall of 2008, he had just a partial scholarship. Through the hard work, the time spent in the weight room and time spent working out in the summers, he has gone to a full scholarship. He has also earned the respect of his teammates.
"I think it's the attitude," Reid said. "There are a lot people who try and speak up, and when they speak up everyone kind of rolls their eyes. But when Trey speaks up, everybody on the team knows that he's the hardest working guy on the team, so he's earned that respect - not only for what he says but for what he does."
The only weakness Reid sees in Gilleo is his build, which Reid says can impede a person from building up strength.
"When you're long and gangly, it's a little bit harder to get stronger," Reid said. "You get one of those short-armed guys and they can bench press 400 pounds, they are moving it about five inches. Trey goes out and bench presses, he's probably moving out at about a foot and a half because his arms are so long. It's real hard with long arms to build up the strength."
Despite that, Reid does feel Gilleo has a lot of potential and even thinks that if he can get stronger, maybe one day he could be back in Flagstaff as a member of the Arizona Cardinals.
"He is one of the most athletically talented players that I have coached," Reid said. "Now he needs to be one of the stronger athletic guys I've ever coached."
For Gilleo, the idea of playing in the NFL is definitely a goal. He has even taken the opportunity to talk football with of some of the Cardinals linemen who have been in Flagstaff for the past two weeks for training camp.
"I met one of the linemen and he told me the biggest thing to work on to get to the next level is play fast, play smart, play with speed," Gilleo said. "The biggest change from high school to college and college to the NFL is fast and speed. Everything is faster, everything is more efficient and so highly intense."
If the NFL turns out to not be in the cards for Gilleo, he has a fallback plan as he is majoring in criminal justice and will seek employment in that career field. But it's the goal of the NFL and playing on Sundays that he feels he has a shot at and will continue to work toward.
"I have the size, I'm pretty big," Gilleo said. "I feel like I have the talent and the skills. I have a couple of years left to try and get bigger and get stronger."