What to Like: The first thing to note about Gilbert is the amount of experience he brings to a defense that could really use some more of it along the defensive line. He's proven to be a solid player at the major college level, and the Hurricanes need a lot more of those along its defensive front. Gilbert has played in 42 games at the major college level -- a number much higher than anyone on Miami's current roster at that position. His 17 starts trail just Anthony Chickillo's 21. The experience factor, especially at a position where the depth is very young and inexperienced, is huge. He will be able to provide leadership in the locker room. He's been on teams that won conference championships, played in BCS bowl games, and has competed in the Top 10. He has already been where a lot of the current players want to go. His leadership from that standpoint -- on the field, in the locker room, and in the meeting room -- should be huge. On the field, he will help provide a much needed pass rush. While he's not an elite level pass rusher, he is solid and will give Miami an experienced player who can be on the field on any down. The team's top pass rusher now, Quan Muhammad, is only a freshman and will only be on the field in obvious pass rushing situations. Gilbert can be an every-down guy, if needed. At 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, he can also be a guy who can play outside linebacker when the Canes switch to a 3-4 defense at times. Gilbert also spent his younger days at Wisconsin playing and learning behind defensive end J.J. Watt, who is now one of the premier defensive ends in the NFL.
What may concern you: Despite being at Wisconsin for four seasons, Gilbert was only a full-time starter for one of those seasons. And he finished the 12-game season with just four sacks. While he'll bring experience and will help upgrade the pass rush some, don't expect him to come in and light things on fire. He's a solid addition at a position where any help would be a major bonus. Gilbert also missed almost his entire junior season due to an injury. We're less than three weeks from opening day, and he's still not practicing for the Hurricanes yet. How much ground can he make up in just a short amount of time? Those questions have yet to be answered.
Bottom Line: Miami's defensive end play was very average last season. The team had one of the worst pass rushes in all of college football. More help was needed, and getting it in the form of a 4-year BCS transfer is huge. From an experience, leadership, pass rushing, and versatility standpoint, Gilbert coming to UM is a major upgrade and should be considered a big addition to the front 4.