One-on-One With Justin Gilbert

ARLINGTON, Texas — Senior cornerback Justin Gilbert leads Oklahoma State with six interceptions this season and recently earned All-American honors. He's also regarded as one of the top defensive backs in the upcoming NFL draft class. At Tuesday's media availability, he took time to speak about playing Missouri and his NFL future.

Missouri and OSU have a lot of history with each other and used to be rivals. Does that add extra incentive?
Gilbert: We thought about it. I only got to play them one time and I don't know too much about that rivalry. I'm 1-0 against them and now I want to be 2-0 against them.

What's been the best part of the Cotton Bowl experience?
Gilbert: The hotel we're staying in. It's amazing. The only bad thing is we may need some electric scooters to ride around in because it's so big.

Coach Glenn Spencer talked about you being a quiet leader. What are you thoughts on that?
Gilbert: Just lead by example. You don't have to really say much to be a leader. What you do on the field and off the field, it says a lot. When the younger guys come up to you and you're making plays, they're going to want to follow in your footsteps.

The way coaches and players describe your defense, everybody is dependent on each other. I assume the coaches put that knowledge into you?
Gilbert: (Glenn Spencer) has had that every game. He says, "Look at everyone around this room." Then he says, "What is he going to think of you tomorrow when you walk into film. Is it going to be positive or negative?" We always want to put out something positive.

Obviously you're focused on the Cotton bowl, but have you put much thought into what comes after this for you?
Gilbert: I think about it from time to time. It's something I have to do to be prepared. But I don't want to think about it too much because we still have a game to play. And we're here to win. Not just to have fun, but to win the game.

But the prospect of being an NFL draft pick still has to be exciting for you. Has that sunk in?
Gilbert: Yeah, it's something I always expected of myself. But I don't really try to go forward thinking about it. I'm just taking it one day at a time.

It looks like coming back for you senior season really worked out for you in terms of better draft stock. How do you feel about that whole situation?
Gilbert: I'm overwhelmed with this decision I made. It provided me more opportunities to make plays for these guys, and they're making plays for me.

If there was another guy in a similar situation, would you tell him to come back? Or is it a case-by-case basis?
Gilbert: It all depends on who that guy is, what his problems are, issues are. Everybody has their own reasons for doing different things, so I couldn't really tell anyone what to do with their life.

What was the biggest think you gained from coming back that made you more successful this year?
Gilbert: Being more consistent, each week, making plays. Just playing hard and bringing the mental focus I wanted to each game.

GoPokes Top Stories