Gilbert Gildersleeve has spent the last two years in California.
The junior cornerback plans now are to spend the next two at Arkansas State and the Floridian is happy about.
“I’m glad to be back in this part of the country,’’ said Gildersleeve, who completed his degree requirements at Orange Coast Community College with an online course this week. That is all that was needed for the new Arkansas State commit to take the next stage in his life.
In a late summer recruitment, Gildersleeve, who prepped at East River in Orlando, wound up picking the Red Wolves over an offer from Iowa State. He was an early season commit to Toledo but never signed a national letter.
Two reasons he picked the Red Wolves were a pair of former teammates who are on the A-State roster. Safety Cody Brown and Gildersleeve were teammates at Independence (Kan.) Community College and with linebacker Paul Swanson at Orange Coast. Gildersleeve redshirted at Independence and played two seasons for the Pirates. As a freshman, he had 33 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions and passes broken up. As a sophomore, he had 28 tackles, 8 PBU and 1 forced fumble.
“I’m excited,’’ he said. “I actually have a family in Mississippi so it is a lot closer. My dad and I are going to drive up there next week. I’m ready to go.”
At East River, which competes in Florida’s largest classification, Gildersleeve was a 3-sport star. He started in basketball and advanced to the state meet in track in the high jump, where he had a best of 6-foot-8. He ran on the 4x100 relay and had a best of 22 feet in the long jump.
“I know Arkansas State has had a lot of success,’’ he said. “They win and go to bowl games. I know Cody said he thinks the teams is about to do some great things and I believe him. I’m ready to be a part of all that.”
Gildersleeve helps fill a void with the summer injury to Jamaris Hart that will sideline him for the 2016 season.
Arkansas State opens the season Sept. 2 vs. Toledo at home.