A year ago, Addison Gillam was doing a little of everything for Foothill High School in Palo Cedro, Calif.

He was an all-region linebacker, while also playing running back and returning kicks.

Now, the true freshman linebacker is on the verge of making history at Colorado.

With 81 tackles, Gillam needs just five more to break the school record for tackles by a freshman. Matt Russell had 85 as a redshirt freshman in 1993. Jordan Dizon currently has the most among true freshmen, with 82 in 2004.

Considering he averages 10.1 tackles per game and has had at least six in every game, there's a good chance Gillam breaks that mark Saturday when the Buffs (3-5, 0-5 Pac-12) visit Washington (5-3, 2-3).

"I think it's awesome," Gillam said of being on the verge of that record. "I never thought I'd be able to, or be on this level. It's pretty awesome."

Gillam, who has played nearly every snap at middle linebacker, has 25 more tackles than anyone else on the team and is likely to become the first freshman -- true or redshirt -- to lead CU in tackles since that statistic was first tracked in 1964.

That's impressive considering that his pace has slowed considerably in recent weeks. Gillam had 51 of his tackles in the first four games, including a freshman-record 18 vs. Oregon on Oct. 5.

On paper, it would appear that Gillam has not been as effective in the last four games. Through four games, he not only had 51 tackles, but he had six tackles for loss and 11 third-down stops.


In the past four games, he has 30 tackles, just one for a loss and no third-down stops.

This is not a case of a player hitting the freshman wall, however.

"The last three weeks have been different offenses," CU defensive coordinator Kent Baer said. "The Will (outside linebacker) has had opportunities to make more plays than the Mike (middle linebacker), just how we align people."

Woodson Greer and Derrick Webb have both made a lot of tackles on the outside in recent weeks, as the Buffs have faced several spread offenses.

"He hasn't fallen off any," Baer said of Gillam. "He's done a good job, his grades (on the field) have been good. He's been awesome and he's made a lot of plays maybe he shouldn't have and I don't think he's missed too many in the last three weeks."

Gillam echoed that sentiment. He said his work in the classroom has become more challenging as the semester has gone along, but "football-wise, no, it's awesome. Being out here, I love it. I'm not getting tired of football."

Unlike most of the true freshman, Gillam arrived at CU in January and went through spring practices with the Buffs. He said that has helped him handle the grind of the season to this point.

"Getting in shape with (director of sports performance Dave) Forman and just the things we were doing over the summer and last spring, that's helped a lot," Gillam said. "I haven't been struggling with the new defense. Getting a jump start on that has really helped."


Just 14 true freshmen in CU history have played at least 300 snaps in a season on defense, but eight of those have come in the last four season: Terrel Smith in 2010, Greg Henderson in 2011, Kenneth Crawley, Marques Mosley, Josh Tupou and Yuri Wright in 2012 and Gillam and Chidobe Awuzie this season. Jimmie Gilbert (179 snaps) could join that list, too. ... Washington ranks 34th nationally in scoring offense (34.5 points per game) -- and the Huskies are the lowest-ranked among the six Pac-12 teams CU has played to this point. The Buffs don't play another team currently in the top 50 the rest of the season. ... Saturday's game is slated for a 6 p.m. kickoff and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.