Gilbert Says Tigers Are In His Final Four

Marcus Gilbert, a highly regarded offensive lineman from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., comments on his official visit to Auburn.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.--One of the top offensive line prospects in the state of Florida says Auburn is one of his four finalists on where he will play his college football.

Marcus Gilbert, a 6-5, 285-pound offensive tackle from St. Thomas Aquinas High School, was one of six football prospects who were on the Auburn campus over the weekend for official visits. The group included six high school seniors and one junior college freshman.

He says Auburn along with the Florida Gators, Miami Hurricanes and LSU Tigers are his four finalists, but also notes he isn't in any hurry to make a decision on where he will play next season. "I am going to wait until signing day to do that," he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers.

Marcus Gilbert is known for his good footwork as an offensive lineman.]

St. Thomas Aquinas was considered one of the top high school teams in the nation this year and a big reason for that was the offensive line. In addition to Gilbert, the team featured two other heavily recruited seniors--Daniel Wenger and Sam Young. Auburn is not in the recruiting picture with either of those prospects.

St. Thomas Aquinas head coach George Smith says that Gilbert, who broke into the starting lineup during his sophomore season, has the size and ability major college coaches are looking for in their signee classes.

"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."

Commenting on his weekend it Auburn, Gilbert says, "It went well. Just getting around and seeing the practice, the facilities and how the coaches work with the kids are things that stood out to me. That was good and so was getting the chance to hang out with some of the players."

Gilbert made the trip to Auburn with his father.

Gilbert notes that Auburn's coaches told him they want him to be an offensive tackle for the Tigers. All-American senior tackle Marcus McNeill and starting junior offensive guard Ben Grubbs were his player hosts and showed him around Auburn and introduced him to other players.

"I enjoyed the trip," Gilbert adds. "It was a great trip. I got treated real nice. Everything was real good."

He says the next official visit will be on Jan. 13th when he travels to Baton Rouge, La., to check out LSU.

Other players taking official visits include junior college offensive lineman Haywood Howard from Eastern Arizona College, kicker/punter Ryan Shoemaker from Oak Mountain High, linebacker Craig Stevens from Tallahassee's Lincoln High in Florida, wide receiver Tim Hawthorne from Homewood High and offensive lineman Mike Berry from Brentwood, Tenn., Academy. AU verbal commitment Greg Smith, a juco defensive lineman, was originally scheduled to visit, but didn't make the trip.

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