Size: 6-4, 220
High School: Austin Lake Travis
Year: Senior, started all 13 games at SMU.
Recruitment: A consensus five-star recruit by every major recruiting service and ranked in the top ten overall in most of the services coming out of high school, Gilbert had the choice to go to whatever college he wanted. Gilbert ultimately decided on staying close to home by signing with Texas over California, Nebraska and Stanford. After three tumultuous years at Texas, Gilbert transferred to SMU.
2012 Review: Gilbert came in with huge expectations from Mustangs' fans to restore confidence in the Run N Shoot and June Jones' ability to call plays, but instead Gilbert started off poorly in September in non-conference play, throwing just four touchdowns and nine interceptions. That terrible month ended in a 24-16 loss at home against TCU, where he completed just 37.5 percent of his passes and threw for one touchdown and five interceptions. If Gilbert could have held on to the ball instead of throwing interceptions on three straight possessions, the Mustangs may have had a chance to upset the Horned Frogs in a game remembered for the torrential downpour.
Once the calendar turned to October and November, Gilbert became a new quarterback for the Mustangs, completing over 55 percent of his passes, throwing for 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. In November, Gilbert also became a threat on the ground, rushing for close to 250 yards and five touchdowns. Gilbert led the Mustangs to a 5-3 record in conference play behind his improved play. He finished the last five regular season games without throwing an interception.
Gilbert continued to show his athleticism with his running ability in the Hawaii Bowl, running for 98 yards on a season-high 18 carries, and Gilbert operated the offense efficiently enough to make sure the Mustangs took advantage of Fresno State's mistakes. Overall, Gilbert didn't have much help from the wide receivers, who dropped too many balls, and Jones' play calling was questionable at times. With Jones and Hal Mumme working together on the game plan next year, Gilbert should be able to get into a groove quicker than he did at times last year.
Outlook in 2013: Gilbert has always looked sharp in practice, displaying his strong arm, accuracy and leadership skills, but at times last year, he looked lost out on the field. Jones shook up the staff a little bit by bringing on board Mumme and with Timmy Chang on staff for another year, Gilbert has plenty of people around him to help him develop even more in his second year.
With Jeremy Johnson returning in the slot, Gilbert will have his favorite target back and that should mean more big plays from Johnson, who was bottled up to close to 10 yards a catch last season, good for last out of the four leading receivers. Der'rikk Thompson also returns on the outside and while he has plenty of speed, he was somewhat quiet last season, but Gilbert and Jones both have confidence he will breakout this year and live up to expectations.
With a strong running game, Gilbert will not have to make every play himself, but if he is forced into third and long situations, it could be another tough season. One positive for SMU fans is that Gilbert got better as the game went on, posting quarterback ratings over 120 in the second half of games- his ratings were not above 92 in the first half. If Gilbert and the offense can develop a rhythm and improve in the first half, the SMU offense will be the best it has been under Jones' tenure.
Player Profile Series: Garrett Gilbert
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