Rated as the number 42 offensive line prospect in the country by Scout.com, 6-5, 285, Marcus Gilbert from St. Thomas Aquinas High has offers from many of the top schools in the country, but has narrowed his list to Auburn, Florida, Miami, North Carolina State and Florida State. Scheduled to visit LSU last weekend and having already visited the Seminoles, Gilbert will have a chance this weekend to see what the Auburn program is all about.
Gilbert is considered a big-time offensive line prospect. His coach, George Smith, says that colleges from across the country have been by practices and games at St. Thomas Aquinas to watch him perform.
A starter for the last two and a half seasons for Coach George Smith at one of Florida's top football schools, Gilbert has been an integral part of their success.
This season Gilbert's team ran through its schedule undefeated before losing in the state title game to Lakeland High in a battle of two of the top five ranked teams in the country. Smith says that Gilbert has a lot going for him as he prepares for the next level.
"He's a big, strong, athletic kid," Smith says. "He has a great upside. He played both ways last year for us a good bit, but ended up playing mostly offense this year. He's extremely athletic, a basketball player who moves well."
Teamed with outstanding offensive linemen Daniel Wenger and Sam Young, Gilbert helped form likely the most talented offensive line in the country this year. Smith says it was what he brought not only on the field, but off, that makes him a special player.
"When your team elects three offensive linemen as captains that says a lot," Smith says. "Usually those guys are never anything, they're just out there. That's what happened this year. He was one of those guys."
Along with Gilbert the Tigers are expected to have a talented group of visitors in for the weekend to check out bowl preparations as Auburn prepares to face Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2 in Orlando.
Chris Slaughter helped Peach County to a Georgia state championship season.
Joining Gilbert as offensive linemen the Tigers are recruiting is big Mike Berry from Brentwood Academy in Nashville. He's also scheduled to be in along with junior college prospect Haywood Howard from Eastern Arizona College. Others expected in for the weekend are linebacker Craig Stevens from Tallahassee, Florida, kicker Ryan Shoemaker from Oak Mountain High in Birmingham, and commitments Chris Slaughter and Greg Smith.
Lee Smith from Powell, Tennessee. A commitment to the Vols back in the spring, Smith is looking around with all of the problems surrounding that program at the moment. One of the top tight ends in the country, he could come in and help the Tigers with the loss of senior Cooper Wallace.