NFL from the sidelines
After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop. Dale can also be heard on Tuesday nights throughout the season from 7 to 9 p.m. on WBGG 970-AM. Follow him on Twitter at fdlolleyor.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Marcus Gilbert info
University of Florida Gators
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
St. Thomas Aquinas High School
While most of the media attention paid to Florida’s offensive line in recent years centered on the Pouncey Brothers, Mike and Maurkice (Pittsburgh Steelers), there is no shortage of talent among the rest of the Gators’ up front. Many professional scouts feel that Carl Johnson and Maurice Hurt are also capable of playing at the next level.
But those same scouts feel that Gilbert has the potential to be Florida’s best product produced at the offensive tackle position since Kenyatta Walker was the 14th overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay.
The son of a retired secret service agent who protected Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Gilbert was so focused during the 2009 preseason that every night before he went to bed, he wrote himself notes of what he must improve upon during the next day’s practices.
“Coach (Steve) Addazio and he developed a father- son type relationship,” said former Florida head coach Urban Meyer.
“He is going to graduate from Florida. He will have an opportunity to play at the next level, and he is one of our most consistent linemen. That’s just one of those great stories, when you have a great mom and dad, which he has, and a position coach who is just non-stop on him and then obviously the God-given tools. He has turned into one of our better linemen. He’s very consistent right now. We moved him from right to left, which is sometimes an issue, but he picked it right up.”
Gilbert had some good football peers during his younger days. He grew up with former Miami safety Anthony Reddick.
According to Gilbert’s sister, Reddick taught Gilbert how to play ball when they were younger. Gilbert’s brother, David Walker, was a defensive lineman at Iowa who completed his eligibility following the 2005 season.
During his three-year career as a starter at football powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Gilbert played guard and tackle on the offensive line, as well as doubling on the defensive line. He moved over to offense following his sophomore season and became one of three major recruiting prospects, as Sam Young and Dan Wenger eventually enrolled at Notre Dame.
Gilbert received a four-star prospect rating from both Scout.com and Rivals.com. Scout also regarded him as the 42nd- best offensive lineman in the country. He was selected to participate in the 2006 CaliFlorida Bowl. He was also a member of the varsity basketball team and competed in the shot put and discus throws for the track and field squad.
Gilbert was recruited by renowned offensive line coach, Doc Holliday, signing his national letter of intent to attend the University of Florida on December 31st, 2005. He was also heavily recruited by Auburn, Florida State, Louisiana State and Miami. He played sparingly in 2006 and retained freshman eligibility.
Gilbert returned in 2007, seeing action in all thirteen games. He made his starting debut at right guard in the Florida Atlantic contest. He continued to be in the offensive lineman rotation as a sophomore in 2008, seeing action in all but the Arkansas contest. He started at left guard vs. Miami and Hawaii, in addition to seeing time at tight end vs. Tennessee. He also performed for the team’s field goal unit.
Improved work ethic in the classroom carried over on to the football field in 2009. Gilbert lined up with the first unit in all fourteen games. He earned Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week honors vs. Kentucky and turned in the highest blocking consistency grade (99% vs. Georgia) of any Gators blocker during his junior campaign. He would grade over 90% five times during a season that saw UF lead the SEC and rank sixth in the nation in total offense (457.86 ypg).
What impressed the coaching staff the most about Gilbert in 2009 was his renewed dedication. While most players sleep or play video games in their downtime, Gilbert was often seen doing “homework” to prepare himself for the next day. One example: Gilbert made a few mistakes during a practice which allowed defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Jermaine Cunningham to penetrate the pocket. Gilbert reminded himself that night that he was ``giving a soft edge.''
“So the next day I decided to get deeper in my set and fast off my set and throw my hands out and that was my focus, so I improved,'' Gilbert said. Gilbert's nightly homework also included reviewing his playbook. In addition to the Gators' base offense, Florida coach Urban Meyer used several I-formation sets that season, which allowed QB Tim Tebow to work occasionally as a drop-back passer.
This new aspect of UF's offense made Gilbert's job even more demanding. Not only did he have to protect Tebow, but Gilbert also had to help his quarterback show off his newly learned footwork for NFL scouts. Gilbert now saw his future taking shape. ``I want to play in the NFL,'' Gilbert said. ``That's what I came here for and that's what I want to do. I'm at the right tackle position, a position I always wanted to play since I got here, and now I'm here and I'm going to take full advantage of it.''
Right after his 2009 campaign, Gilbert seriously thought about leaving school to enter the 2010 NFL Draft, but elected to remain in Gainesville. "I think my papers I got back from the NFL weren't what I wanted them to be -- fourth round," Gilbert said. "I think this year (2010) I can improve. I know I've got a lot of work to do in the film room, studying defenses and becoming a better tackle. That was really my first year starting, so I didn't see any need to come out early with just a little bit of experience. I can get another year under my belt and improve myself as a player."
As a senior, Gilbert shifted to the demanding left tackle position, receiving All-SEC recognition in 2010. He received the team’s top blocking grade in six contests, but the young offense struggled, finishing 82nd in the nation with an average of 350.85 yards per game in total offense. One of the few bright spots for that unit was the offensive line, as that quintet improved from allowing 2.14 quarterback sacks per game in 2009 to an average of 1.85 sacks in 2010.
Gilbert would cap his college career by accepting an invitation to play in the 2011 Senior Bowl. Fellow offensive lineman, Carl Johnson offered accorded this praise upon Gilbert during their final season together, “He is a competitor, hard worker, great athlete. Most people don’t know he came here at 270 pounds looking like a tight end. They beefed him up and put weight on him, but he is a phenomenal athlete and that is something you can never coach. Something you can’t motivate is what you are born with, and he is blessed.”
In his two seasons as a full-time starter, Gilbert manned the left offensive tackle position for thirteen games and played on the right side for fourteen contests, recording 142 knockdowns and 22 touchdown-resulting blocks during that span.
All-Southeastern Conference second-team selection by The NFL Draft Report, earning third-team honors from Phil Steele...Shifted to the left tackle position as a senior, starting all thirteen games...Registered a career-best 81 knockdowns with thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks, as Florida averaged 350.85 yards in total offense and 166.54 rushing yards per game...Was a key member of an offensive line that surrendered one sack or less in seven contests...Gilbert graded out a Champion (top performance) in six of Florida’s games, including three in a row vs. Miami, South Florida and Tennessee...Graded 93% with eight knockdowns vs. the Tennessee Volunteers...Part of a front wall that allowed 24 quarterback sacks, a reduction from the 28 given up during his junior campaign.
Gilbert took over right offensive tackle duties, starting all fourteen games for a unit that led the Southeastern Conference and ranked sixth nationally with an average of 457.86 yards in total offense per game...The ground game benefitted from Gilbert’s drive blocking, finishing tenth nationally and second in the league with an average of 221.79 yards per game...Named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week for his efforts vs. Kentucky (92%) and turned in one of UF’s highest grades of the 2009 campaign when he earned Champions’ Club honors with a 99% blocking consistency mark in the win over Georgia... Checked in at 95% in UF’s win over Arkansas and tallied a 90% mark both the Troy and Tennessee contests.
Gilbert played in thirteen games...Contributed to Florida’s SEC and BCS National Championship Game victories at both offensive guard and tackle, in addition to playing on the field goal unit...The Gators led the SEC in total offense (445.07 ypg) and rushing, as their ground attack placed tenth in the nation with an average of 231.14 yards per game...Started at left guard vs. both Hawaii and Miami and lined up at tight end for a play vs. Tennessee...Graded a season-best 93% for blocking consistency in the 70-19 win over The Citadel.
Played in all thirteen games as a guard, earning his first career start vs. Florida Atlantic at right guard, replacing Maurkice Pouncey...Was the last of 22 Gators who made their first career start in 2007...Helped the team lead the SEC with an average of 457.15 yards per game in total offense.
Retained freshman eligibility after playing in two games. AGILITY TESTS
5.46 in the 40-yard dash...1.93 10-yard dash...3.14 20-yard dash...4.69 20-yard shuttle...7.66 three-cone drill...29-inch vertical jump...8’5” broad jump...Bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times...33 1⁄2-inch arm length...9 3⁄4-inch hands...80 3⁄4-
Attended St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) High School, playing football for head coach George Smith...Played guard and tackle on the offensive line during his prep career, as well as doubling on the defensive line...Moved over to offense following his sophomore season and became one of three major recruiting prospects, as Sam Young and Dan Wenger eventually enrolled at Notre Dame...Received a four-star prospect rating from both Scout.com and Rivals.com.
Scout also regarded him as the 42nd-best offensive lineman in the country...Added Class 5A All-District XVI honors and was selected to participate in the 2006 CaliFlorida Bowl...Also a member of the varsity basketball team and competed in the shot put and discus throws for the track and field squad.
Family, Youth and Community Science major...Brother, David Walker, was a defensive lineman at Iowa who completed his eligibility following the 2005 season...Active member of the Goodwill Gators who participated in visits to Terwilliger Elementary and the Shands Medical Plaza/AGH...Son of Katrina and Jeffrey Gilbert...Father recently retired from the Secret Service. When the Florida Gators visited the White House to celebrate their second national championship in four years in April of 2009, Gilbert received special recognition by new President Barack Obama during the ceremony because his father, Jeff, was a Secret Service agent who helped shield the past three presidents from harm...Born 2/15/88...Resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.