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Anonymous ‘military vets’ write scathing letter to Notre Dame DB

Notre Dame rising senior safety Alohi Gilman recently received a letter, which was sent to the Fighting Irish football offices.

The letter was signed by “six military veterans and college football fans,” and it criticized Gilman for transferring from Navy to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish defender posted the letter on his Snapchat account with the caption, “This the type of energy we all don’t need in 2019. Miss me with all that nonsense.”

A screenshot of the letter from Gilman’s Snapchat account was posted on Twitter.

“We must express utter contempt for you and your educational and career decisions over the past couple of years,” the letter begins. “You were honored with the highest appointment possible to the United States Naval Academy and were given a one year prep school scholarship because of your questionable academic record. And how do you thank our great country for giving you a chance to serve? You spit on the flag and transfer because you believe you can make the NFL quicker.”

Gilman began his college football career at Navy in 2016, and he started 12 of 14 games for the Midshipmen. The safety tallied 76 tackles, a total that ranked second on the Navy roster. However, the Laie, Hawaii, native then left for Notre Dame, where he sat out the 2017 season. In the spring of 2017, the rule, which gave players a chance to defer their military service commitment for five years in order to pursue a NFL career, changed. That was the primary motivating factor for Gilman to leave Navy.

“I wasn’t as passionate in the military,” Gilman told the IndyStar before Notre Dame faced Navy last season. “I have so much respect for the military. I learned so many things, but I wasn’t as passionate (about) fulfilling that service commitment. They changed the rule, so ultimately that tipped me over to transferring.”

Gilman started every game for Notre Dame during the 2018 campaign, as the Fighting Irish went 12-0 to reach the College Football Playoff.

“This whole experience has been unbelievable,” Gilman said prior to Notre Dame’s playoff semifinal matchup against Clemson in the Cotton Bowl. “For me, an island boy, going to Navy and having a pretty good season there, coming here, sitting out, and just having all this success and being able to experience this with my teammates…It’s a blessing from God.

“To get this opportunity is amazing. It’s pretty surreal. From scout team to playing…It’s all been an unbelievable experience.”

Gilman had to adjust to being a full-time starter again after his season off, and his journey will continue as a senior leader on the Irish roster in 2019.

“It comes with hard work and preparation,” Gilman said. “The mental part of the game is what changed it. Coach (Terry) Joseph and Coach (Clark) Lea prepared us to become complete safeties.

“Coach Joseph taught me how to be a professional. It’s not just going out there and running around. You have to learn how to play safety.”

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