Although the national rankings may not reflect it currently, it's a safe bet that CB Marcus Gilchrist from TW Andrews High School in High Point, NC will be one of the premier CB's in the country when rankings are released by Scout later this year.
At 5-11, 170 pounds and boasting 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash, Gilchrist is one of the most skilled corners you'll see on the high school level. His ability to shadow receivers, read quarterbacks and close quickly on the ball helped him snag an amazing 11 interceptions in 2005. In all, Gilchrist accounted for 11 touchdowns last season with eight of them coming on special teams and defense
A sure-fire top-10 player in the state of North Carolina, Gilchrist has picked up 15 offers to date with schools like NC State, UNC, Tennessee, Clemson, Notre Dame, Southern Cal, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Virginia, East Carolina, Duke and Michigan headlining the list.
Gilchrist recently told Pack Pride that he considers himself fortunate to be in the position he finds himself. It's also apparent that the interest he's earned has come through a lifelong love of the game.
"I just thank the lord for blessing me with talent and letting me do the hard work so I can come out here and do everything that I do," said Gilchrist. "At times it's overwhelming but it'll be worth it in the long run. I've been playing since the seventh grade. My first game I actually scored three touchdowns at running back in little league. By the time I got to middle school I was playing safety and receiver. Then when I got to high school I played corner and running back."
Now, with seemingly every major school in the nation hoping to land him in their defensive backfield in 2007, Gilchrist has come up with three prerequisites that will weigh heavily in his collegiate decision.
"First, I like to look at my academic major as far as how they do in my field," he said. "Then, I want to look at the stability in the coaching staff to see if they're going to be there for a long time. Thirdly, I want to see if I can come in and make an impact and if they'll give me a chance to compete."
Although he's certain on what he'll be looking for in a school, Gilchrist is far from deciding exactly who that school will be. He hopes several summer visits will help him whittle down the list.
"I don't have any top schools right now," he said. "I'm just weighing my options.
"I've already been to see Clemson, UNC, NC State, Tennessee and Duke so far. I'm going to try to hit every school this summer that I've been offered by.
"I would like to narrow it down by the middle of the summer and then commit close to my football season but it's been a lot of schools starting to come on now and that's kind of set things back a little bit."
One school that has really come on is NC State. The Pack has had success at Andrews High School in the past, landing future Wolfpackers Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay, Adrian Wilson, Johnny Evans and Ted Brown. It's a given that the Pack would love to add Gilchrist to that list. The rising senior gave his early impressions of State.
"Every school that has shown attention to me is basically a good football school," he said. "But NC State has a lot of tradition from my school with players that have come from my school and gone to NC State and made it to the NFL. The coaching staff is good. The facilities are good and they have my major. I want to major in Computer Engineering. It's just an all-around school for me."
Another key factor in Gilchrist's recruiting has been basketball. Although he still wouldn't mind the possibility of playing both sports in college, Gilchrist plans to pursue a football scholarship only in 2006.
"I've come to the conclusion that I'm just going to go on football scholarship and if I can handle the academic load, then I'll go try out basketball," he said. "Clemson has said something to me (playing both sports). South Carolina has said I have an offer for basketball or football."
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