Gilbert Glad He Returned

In a special for Go Pokes, Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert talks with us after a 21-3 win over Mississippi State in Houston, Texas. He speaks on the defense stepping up, the offense making plays and his decision to return to OSU to play with his brothers this season.

This past off season Justin Gilbert had the opportunity to take his talents to the next level. While some projected as early as a Day 1 guy, others simply said that he could do himself some good by going back to college for the 2013 season.

Despite was said or written, Gilbert chose the latter. And for good reason. It was a mixed bag on where he would land as far as his draft status, now with new ahead of him and knowing where to improve, he has as good a shot as ever in landing in one of those top spots. 

What's even more intriguing than that, he's not overly concerned with that. In the 21-3 opening season win over Mississippi State, Gilbert played a pretty good game. And for the most part, all that is on his mind is his guys in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

"I knew when I made the decision that it was the best decision for me. Right now, things are looking good, but I want to continue to practice hard and study hard and come out here with relentless effort like coaches teach us," Gilbert said after the win.

And that effort showed in Reliant Stadium. Though the numbers do not give justice to the full story, Gilbert seemed to be engaged throughout the entirety of the game. He ended with three tackles and a huge first-quarter interception. He also had 45 return yards as well.

All in all, the Oklahoma State defense had a great showing. Defensively, they held Mississippi State to 33 total yards and kept the Bulldog offense out of the end zone. But as sure as the defense was able to make things happen, for Gilbert it all worked together, giving the offense time to do what it does best.

"I felt pretty confident in our play today. Our offense didn't get started the way they wanted to, but we knew that if we kept making it hard for their offense, we knew our offense would eventually run them down," Gilbert said. "We know how fast our offense moves from going against them every day. Once the offense got rolling, it was all over from there." 

Yet another true statement as the team saw resurgence after the team's first five possessions came up empty. It could be said that the spark began when J.W. Walsh, who was named the starter at the conclusion of the game, came in and got his legs under him and made some plays. 

Either way, this could be the start of another solid season for the Cowboys as all the pieces seem to be in place to make another run at the Big 12 Conference title. As for Gilbert, this move is also beneficial. Not only for the team, having a veteran defender and return specialist ready to go in the lineup, but also for his own development. 

If he continues play at this level, along with work ethic, there should not be a question as to when he will have his name called in a future draft. It will simply be what team needs him most on that first day.


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