The chicken doesn’t stray far from the nest. Hours before their first bowl game, the fathers of Weston Richburg and Crockett Gillmore milled about the Bushland, Texas fanbase tailgate, beers in hand.
The relationship between Phil Gillmore and Danny Richburg closely mirrors the one their sons have grown from so many years of playing together. After overcoming the initial stigma of playing for a small town, the doubters continued to hound them; even after both committed to full-ride scholarships to a Division I program.
Recruited under Steve Fairchild, who coached the Rams from 2008 to 2011, both seniors have ridden the highs and lows of the CSU football program side by side. Through it all, they have stayed loyal to their Bushland roots, proud of their past and relishing every moment they prove a doubter wrong.
“They have that drive that people said they couldn’t do it,” Phil said. “They have a chip on their shoulders. ‘You’re from Bushland,’ people said they couldn’t do it.”
Today, as they line up with their team to take on the University of Washington Cougars, another piece of their dream is being realized and another doubting mouth is being silenced.
And as both players have been highly praised for their senior seasons, rumors have begun to float around about watching them play on Sundays. But, these boys cannot receive accolades without plenty of doubt.
“Frankly, they’re going through that again,” Richburg said of negative attention. “‘You’re not good enough to be in the NFL, you went to a small school in a weak conference.’ They still have a chip on their shoulder.”
Richburg says it’s deeply-rooted faith that has gotten their sons this far. Through the doubts, the losing seasons, and the mid-career revamp of the coaching staff — their work ethics never wavered.
“Their goal is always getting better than they were the day before,” he says. “I think they’ve been grounded in Faith, they know who is in charge. And that they’ve been given a gift; that they have an opportunity to do something most people can only dream of.”
For the small town of Bushland, Texas, the dreams of two of their own are the dreams of the whole town. The celebration for a CSU bowl victory would extend fair outside the city bounds of Fort Collins. A little piece of Texas will be celebrating with pride for a Ram win, but also for two players from a small town receiving national recognition.
“Weston and Crockett both are really good goal setters,” high school coach Steve Flowers said. “They do a good job of working for what they want, they put us on the map; they’re great guys.”Football Beat Reporter Cali Rastrelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @c_rasta5.
Seasons worthy of notice:
49 career starts – more than any other Ram (today will be his 50th)
Center of an offensive line that produced a 3,000 yard passer and 1,500 yard rusher – the only team in the nation to do so
43 receptions, 533 yards, 2 TDs
Gillmore garners more compliments for his blocking skills than anything else
“I like the way he plays,” former CSU tight end, Joel Dreessen has said of Gillmore. “More than likely will get an opportunity to show his value at the NFL scouting combine.”