Tuesday, April 15, 2008

2009 Spotlight: Garrett Gilbert

Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns have accelerated the recruiting calendar more so than any other school in America.

The Longhorns have 17 commitments for the class of 2009. ITS APRIL! That is nearly a full class and none of them have played a single down of their senior seasons - or been to junior prom for that matter.

Of course, the state of Texas has something to do with it. No place in America is high school football a bigger deal than in the Lone Star state. Just ask the parents and fans of Southlake-Carroll who will be paying a premium for a PSL (Personal Seating License) just to get the right to purchase season tickets. This is high school football we are talking about!

At Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas, fans do not have to buy PSL's to see the future of Longhorn football. Garrett Gilbert, a 6'3", 190-pound quarterback, put on an absolute clinic in passing efficiency in 2007.

The young signal caller completed 359 of his 555 passes - that's 65% - for 4,826 yards and 52 touchdowns. The completions, attempts and yardage marks were state records. At one point last season, in the state championship game against Houston's top defensive team, Gilbert completed 24 straight passes. Lake Travis won that 4A state title game and their quarterback garnered 2nd team All-State honors.

Just to show how advanced the recruiting process is, Gilbert has been committed to the Longhorns since February 7, 2008. That was Signing Day 2008 - over a year and a half before Gilbert will begin his freshman season.

Gilbert has proven to be a winner, and a very productive one at that. He shows excellent leadership ability and poise. His high completion percentage shows solid accuracy. He is also deceptively mobile. He will not wow defensive coaches but they will have to account for his legs when game-planning because he will make them pay on the ground if ignored. He throws very well on the run as well.

A couple of issues come up immediately with Gilbert. First, he will need to add some weight and strength. He is about the same size as Colt McCoy, who has had issues with injuries his entire career on the Forty Acres. Second, and this is nit-picking, but his arm strength is not elite. He makes up for it with great precision but may never have top-notch, NFL-type arm strength. Last, his mechanics will need smoothing out.

The size and mechanical issues can be fixed very easily with solid coaching and training programs. The arm strength may never be an issue in college, but will certainly effect his draft stock in a few years.

If Gilbert produces in the Big XII like he did in high school, Texas fans will not care one bit.

Gilbert in action:

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