- Name: Marshall Gilbert
- Classification: 2017
- Position: Catcher
- Ht: Wt: 6-foot-1, 210
- Bats-Throws: R-R
- Junior College: John Logan (IL) College
- High School: Westosha Central High School (Trevor, WI)
- Schools of Interest: Committed to Mississippi State
It didn't take the Mississippi State coaching staff very long to determine that they wanted Gilbert in a Bulldog uniform.
"My school, John A. Logan, basically had a Scout Day last Monday and (Mississippi State assistant) Coach (Will) Coggin came out and watched me play one time, then brought me in for a visit this past weekend, Sunday through Tuesday," said Gilbert.
He explained what Mississippi State liked about him.
"Coach Coggin said he really liked what I did with my bat," said Gilbert. "Along with that, he said I have the catch and throw ability. He said I run the bases real well, too. I had a pretty good season here last season and he said that if he could coach me even if it is one season that I could put up the same kind of numbers and help the team out a lot."
Gilbert already knew of Mississippi State prior to being recruited by them. Part of the reason for that was Jake Mangum.
"I started following them last season right after they had beaten LSU, just watching them as a fan I guess," said Gilbert. "I had heard a lot about Jake (Mangum) and how he burst on the scene as a true freshman. I actually followed him because I kind of related it to my freshman season. But it is a little different playing in the SEC compared to junior college. But I thought it was pretty cool seeing a freshman doing as well as he was."
During his visit, he knew almost immediately Mississippi State was the right place for him.
"I fell in love with the place right away and knew it was the right fit for me," said Gilbert, who was hosted by Mangum his second night on his visit. "It just seemed so homey when I first got there. Everybody was super nice and the facilities are outstanding. And I could see myself getting better as a baseball player there. Academically, I'm looking to go into Sports Management and they have a really good program and their degree means a lot. I also love where all the coaches are going with the program. The weather was super nice, too. And I heard they get great fan support, up to 15,000 fans for a game. I couldn't ask for anything better."
He also liked the Mississippi State coaching staff's hitting philosophy.
"Coach (Mike) Brown and Coach Coggin talked to me about hitting," said Gilbert. "Basically, what they told me is they will give you stuff where you get into a routine every single day. They believe that everybody is their own player. So, they don't try to cookie cut everybody. They just take you and make you the best you that you can be."
After seeing all that Mississippi State had to offer, he didn't need much time to make his decision.
"I committed right after he made the offer," said Gilbert. "It was more than I expected so I didn't see any point in waiting."
Gilbert chose Mississippi State over a host of other colleges.
"Alabama, Mizzou, Michigan State, Illinois and Western Kentucky also recruited me," said Gilbert. "I visited Illinois and Western Kentucky. Mississippi State was my third visit. Bama and Mizzou wanted me to come on visits."
Mississippi State is not only getting a great hitter but also an outstanding defensive catcher. While his overall defensive stats are solid, the last two months saw him put up a .990 defensive percentage and throw out 75% of the base runners who attempted to steal against him. He explained what caused his improvement behind the plate during the second half of the season.
"We ended up getting a new pitching coach to come in," said Gilbert. " He told the pitchers to get their slide step to home with a man on first under 1.3 seconds. Once they made that switch (the potential base stealers) were out by a mile."
Gilbert, as a freshman, hit .406 with 12 home runs and 67 RBI, which earned him second-team All-American honors. He also helped his team to a 44-11 record and a ranking of 9th in the nation.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network.