Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert
Good friend Dave-Te’ Thomas of Scouting Services has finished his player profiles of several of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects and over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting the ones that the Pittsburgh Steelers will more than likely have interest in. While Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert apparently hasn’t been in town for a pre draft visit as of yet, the Steelers were at his Pro Day and reportedly met with him at the combine. Here now is his profile that was prepared by Thomas, who has done these for the NFL for several years now.
JUSTIN RODRELL GILBERT
Cornerback/Free Safety/Return Specialist
Oklahoma State University Cowboys
Huntsville High School
The former track standout was the unquestioned “King of the Hill” when he faced off vs. the other defensive backs attending the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, leading all safeties and cornerbacks with a scorching 4.37-second clocking in the 40-yard dash. Dating back to the last ten events in Indianapolis, that time was the fourth-best for any defensive back.
Gilbert’s speed and natural hands has seen the former four-star recruit not only etch his name into the school and Big Twelve Conference record books for his defensive success, but also for his sensational ability as a kickoff returner. His twelve interceptions rank fifth in school annals and tied for seventh on the league record chart, as his 180 yards in returns rank seventh in school history, tying the Cowboys annual record by returning two of those thefts for touchdowns as a senior.
Gilbert closed out his career second in school and Big Twelve history with 102 kickoff returns for 2,681 yards, establishing new conference and Cowboys records with six runbacks for touchdowns. His success at reaching the end zone ranks as the third-best in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision history. His average of 26.28 yards per return also placed second on the Oklahoma State all-time list.
Gilbert closed out his career ranked ninth among major college’s active players for interceptions, placing 21st with his theft return yard total (180), which rank seventh in school annals. His 102 kickoff returns placed fifth and ranks fourth among active players in kickoff return yardage (2,641). He also led that group with his six kickoff returns for touchdowns.
With such an impressive statistical resume, experts are also highly impressed with Gilbert’s ball skills, as he excels at tracking the thrown ball over his shoulder, evident by recording five of his seven interceptions from deep tosses in 2013. He is a natural hands catcher, having never put the ball on the ground throughout his four seasons returning kicks. With his well-built frame, he is also effective at coming up and lending run support.
Gilbert was a recruiting “coup” for the Oklahoma State coaches, as he was heavily pursued by all the major colleges in his home state of Texas. At Hunstville High School, he was considered a four-star prospect, ranking 26th among the nation’s athletes and was a member of the Texas Top 100 and Rivals100 lists compiled by Rivals.com. Scout.com only rated him with three stars and called him the 42nd-best cornerback in the nation.
The two-time district MVP was also a Super Prep all-region pick and ranked by that publication as the 51st-best player in the state. He earned postseason honors on both sides of the ball throughout his career. As a sophomore, he scored eleven times on 97 carries for 521 yards (5.4 ypc), along with completing 97-of-166 passes for 1,338 yards and nine touchdowns.
Gilbert followed with five scoring strikes while picking up 629 yards and eight touchdowns on just 69 rushing attempts (9.1 ypc) in 2008. His senior season produced 122 carries for 1,061 yards and nine scores, finishing with 753 yards and four scores behind 50-of-108 pass attempts.
In addition to football, Gilbert lettered in basketball and track. He competed in the 100 meters and the 200 meters, posting a personal best of 10.68 seconds in the 100 meters his senior year. At the Texas Relays at the University of Texas at Austin, he won the Division II finals in the 100 meters. He ran a personal best of 21.59 seconds in the 200 meters en route to winning the Texas Class 4A championship in that event.
Gilbert contributed immediately after enrolling at Oklahoma State in 2010, serving as the top reserve at weak-side cornerback, making eighteen tackles. He went on to lead the Big Twelve Conference with a kickoff return average of 26.85 yards, as he tied the school season-record after returning two of those 26 kicks for touchdowns. He also chipped in with 55 yards on eight punt returns.
An All-American selection as a return specialist in 2011, Gilbert led the conference and ranked 12th nationally with a 27.04-yard average (fifth in team annals) on 26 kickoff returns for 703 yards (third-best in Cowboys history) as he tied his own school record with two more touchdown runbacks. He also took over weak-side cornerback duties, recording 59 tackles with ten pass deflections, finishing 14th in the nation with five interceptions that he returned for 57 yards. His total of fifteen passes defended ranked sixth in the Big Twelve.
Gilbert garnered All-Big Twelve Conference as a return specialists, running back a school record 32 kicks, good for 827 yards (second on the Cowboys annual chart) and a 25.84-yard average (second in the league). Starting all thirteen games, the junior cornerback also produced a career-high 63 tackles that included 56 solo stops, as he also broke up nine tosses and caused a fumble behind the line of scrimmage.
The consensus All-American first-team choice was named one of three finalists for the coveted Jim Thorpe Award (nation’s top cornerback). He led the Big Twelve and ranked fourth in the nation with a career-high seven interceptions, tied for fourth in school annals and seventh on the league annual list. His two thefts returned for touchdowns tied an OSU record and he also scored once on 18 kickoffs for 453 yards (25.17 avg). The cornerback also posted 42 tackles (37 solos) and deflected nine other throws.
Gilbert appeared in fifty-one games at Oklahoma State, starting his final thirty-nine contests, as the weak-side cornerback recorded 182 tackles (157 solos) with three stops behind the line of scrimmage, one quarterback pressure, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery … Deflected 27 passes and intercepted twelve others for 180 yards in returns, including two touchdowns … Returned eight punts for 55 yards (6.88 avg), as he gained 2,681 yards with six touchdowns on 102 kickoff returns (26.28 avg) … NCAA Career-Record Results … Among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision performers, Gilbert leads the group in kickoff return touchdowns, ranking fourth in kickoff return yards and fifth for amount of kickoff returns … Also placed ninth for total amount of interceptions and 21st for interception return yards … His six kickoff returns for touchdowns are one shy of the NCAA FBS record of seven, established by C.J. Spiller of Clemson (2006-09) and matched by Tyron Carrier of Houston (2008-11) … Big Twelve Conference Career-Record Results … The senior’s six kickoff returns for scores topped the old league record of five by Brian Banks of Kansas State (2008-09) … His twelve interceptions tied Vincent Meeks of Texas Tech (2002-05) and Darcel McBath of Texas Tech (2005-08) for seventh on the Big Twelve all-time list … With 102 kickoff returns, he joins Perrish Cox of Oklahoma State as the only Cowboys and only Big Twelve players with at least 100 kickoff returns during a career … His 2,681 kickoff return yards rank behind Cox (2,804; 2006-09) on both the league and school career-record charts … His kickoff return average of 26.28 yards rank seventh in league annals … School Career-Record Results … Gilbert’s twelve interceptions tied Rod Brown (1982-84), Scott Harmon (1990-93), Adam Hinds (1982-84), Chris Rockins (1980-83) and John Gates (1968-69) for fifth in school history … His 180 interception return yards rank seventh and his two interception touchdowns tied Harry Roberts (1982-85), Jerry Deckard (1985-87), Patrick Lavine (2006-09), Shaun Lewis (2010-12) and Cleveland Vann (1972-73) for fourth on the Cowboys career list … His six kickoff returns for touchdowns surpassed the old record of four by Perrish Cox (2006-09) … His kickoff return average of 26.28 yards is topped by only Chris Massey (28.08-yard average; 38 for 1,067; 1999-2002) on OSU’s all-time chart.
Cox is the only player in school history to average at least 25.0 yards per kickoff return in each of four seasons … Big Twelve Conference Season-Record Results … Gilbert’s two kickoff returns for touchdowns in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons tied the league annual mark first set by Brandon Banks of Kansas State in 2009 … His seven interceptions in 2013 tied Darcel McBath of Texas Tech (2008), Nathan Vasher of Texas (2001), Brodney Pool of Oklahoma (2003) and Charles Gordon of Kansas (1997) for fifth on the Big Twelve annual list … School Season-Record Results … His seven thefts in 2013 tied Darryl Stewart (1972), Mark Moore (1985), Bob Fenimore (1945) and Ed Roof (1949) for fourth on the Cowboys season chart … His 123 interception return yards rank seventh on that list and he tied the school season-record with two interception returns for touchdowns in 2013 (last to do that feat was Darrent Williams in 2003) … His two kickoff returns for touchdowns in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons tied Barry Sanders (1987), Perrish Cox (2008) and Dick Graham (1970) for the school season record … Ranks fifth with a 27.04-yard kickoff return average in 2011, placing seventh with 26.85 yards in 2010 and ninth with 25.84 yards as a junior. No other Cowboy ranks more than once on that Top Ten list … His 32 kickoff returns in 2012 topped the old OSU record of 31 by Perrish Cox, in both the 2007 and 2009 seasons … His 827 yards gained via kickoff returns in 2012 ranks behind Cox (895 in 2008) on the annual chart, as Gilbert also holds the third spot with 703 yards in 2011 and the fourth place with 698 in 2010.
The Thorpe Award finalist received All-American first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, Football Writers Association and Walter Camp … Added All-Big Twelve Conference first-team accolades from the league’s coaches and Associated Press … The league’s Special Teams Player of the Year received national Player of the Week honors for his performance in back-to-back games – vs. Kansas (College Football Performance Awards) and Texas (Paul Hornung and CBS Sports) … Started all thirteen games at weak-side cornerback, recording 42 tackles (37 solos) with one quarterback pressure, as he broke up seven passes, leading the conference while ranking fourth in the nation with seven pass thefts for 123 yards in returns, tying a school record with two touchdowns … Also scored once while returning eighteen kickoffs for 453 yards, ranking fifth in the league with a 25.17-yard average … Opened the season with an interception vs. Mississippi State and broke up two passes while picking off another vs. West Virginia … Posted five tackles (4 solos), along with running back a pass theft 35 yards vs. Texas Christian … Followed with a 31-yard interception return for a score vs. Iowa State … In his next game, Gilbert exploded for a school record-tying 100-yard kickoff return vs. Kansas … Delivered nine tackles (7 solos) with a pass deflection and two interceptions, returning one 43 yards for a touch-down vs. Texas … Closed out his career with a 14-yard interception runback vs. Missouri in the Cotton Bowl.
Gilbert received second-team All-American honors as a return specialist from The NFL Draft Report and was a second-team All-Big Twelve Conference choice by the league’s coaches … The weak-side cornerback totaled a career-high 63 tackles (56 solos), ranking fourth on the team … Caused a fumble vs. Purdue and made a pair of stops behind the line of scrimmage … Deflected nine passes … Set the school record with 32 kickoff returns, ranking second on that chart with 827 yards, ranking second in the league with a 25.84-yard average, returning one of those kicks for his league record-tying fifth career score, running back a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown vs. West Virginia. It was the 12th longest return in OSU history and the second longest in Gilbert’s career, earning earned him Big Twelve player of the week honors … Opened the season with a 61-yard kickoff return vs. Savannah State and gained 122 yards on five runbacks, adding five tackles with 1.5 stops-for-loss vs. Arizona … Made eight solo tackles with a 43-yard kickoff return vs. Texas and totaled five solo tackles in each of back-to-back appearances vs. Kansas State and West Virginia … Totaled eleven tackles (7 solos) and broke up a pass vs. Oklahoma … Followed with seven solo stops and a deflected pass vs. Baylor … Had six tackles (5 solos) and a forced fumble vs. Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Gilbert was named to The NFL Draft Report’s Sophomore All-American team, also earning All-Big Twelve Conference first-team honors, as the newly installed starter at weak-side cornerback recorded 59 tackles (48 solos) with a stop for a 4-yard loss and a fumble recovery … Ranked sixth in the league with fifteen passes defended, breaking up ten throws while finishing 14th nationally with five interceptions for 57 yards in returns … Was 12th in the nation and led the conference with 26 kickoff returns for 703 yards (27.04 avg) and two touchdowns … Produced one interception in each of Oklahoma, Texas A&M (vs. Miami first round pick Ryan Tannehill), Tulsa, Baylor (vs. Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III) and Stanford (Andrew Luck pass)contests … Posted eleven tackles at Texas in a game that also saw him return a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown … Had nine stops at A&M, along with a pass break-up, a fumble recovery and an interception … Had a 100-yard kickoff return for a score at Tulsa, joining Barry Sanders as the only other Cowboy to accomplish that feat … His night vs. Oklahoma included nine tackles, an interception and two pass break-ups.
The reserve cornerback recorded eighteen tackles (16 solos) with a pass deflection and a forced fumble … Earned All-American honors after gaining 55 yards on eight punt returns, ranking second in the Big Twelve Conference with 26 kickoff returns for 698 yards (26.85 avg), returning one 89 yards for a score vs. Oklahoma and another for a 93-yard touch-down vs. Baylor … Forced a fumble vs. Oklahoma … Made four tackles vs. Washington State and three vs. the Sooners, Kansas and Arizona … Had a 50-yard punt return vs. Nebraska.
2010 Season … Sat out vs. Kansas State with an undisclosed injury.
4.37 in the 40-yard dash (time led all defensive backs at the 2014 NFL Combine) … 1.54 10-yard dash … 2.57 20-yard dash … 4.43 20-yard shuttle … 6.92 three-cone drill … 35 ½-inch vertical jump … 10’-6” broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times (third best for all cornerbacks at the 2014 Combine) … 33 1/8-inch arm length … 8 5/8-inch hands … 77-inch wingspan.
Gilbert attended Huntsville (Tex.) High School, playing for coaches Mitchell Coey and Shane Martin … Considered a four-star prospect, ranking 26th among the nation’s athletes and was a member of the Texas Top 100 and Rivals100 lists compiled by Rivals.com … Scout.com only rated him with three stars and called him the 42nd-best cornerback in the nation … The two-time district MVP was also a Super Prep all-region pick and ranked by that publication as the 51st-best player in the state … As a sophomore, he scored eleven times on 97 carries for 521 yards (5.4 ypc), along with completing 97-of-166 passes for 1,338 yards and nine touchdowns … Followed with five scoring strikes while picking up 629 yards and eight touchdowns on just 69 rushing attempts (9.1 ypc) in 2008 … His senior season produced 122 carries for 1,061 yards and nine scores, finishing with 753 yards and four scores behind 50-of-108 pass attempts … In addition to football, Gilbert lettered in basketball and track … Competed in the 100 meters and the 200 meters, posting a personal best of 10.68 seconds in the 100 meters his senior year … At the Texas Relays at the University of Texas at Austin, he won the Division II finals in the 100 meters … Ran a personal best of 21.59 seconds in the 200 meters en route to winning the Texas Class 4A championship in that event.
Gilbert is an Education major … His cousin, Fred Gilbert, played for UCLA, then transferred to Houston where he was a standout receiver … Son of Iwanna Rolling and Sherman Gilbert … Participated in community service for the City of Huntsville … Born Justin Rodrell Gilbert on 11/07/91 in The Woodlands, Texas … Resides in Huntsville, Texas.