Big things on the horizon for Gatlin

NDSCS had a rough season last year, but the sophomores have made a commitment to getting wins and making a bowl game. CB Josh Gatlin (6-2, 195) says the focus has been there this offseason and so far during fall camp and he said his first goal is to get to a bowl game, but he's also focused on garnering a D-1 scholarship and he updated JCFootball.com recently about things so far...

"We've been real focused and real intense," Gatlin told JCFootball.com shortly before heading to team meetings on Tuesday. "We all want to go out winners and we've got one goal -- get to a bowl game. It's on our shoulders and especially us as captains, we know what we have to do and I think we're going to do it."

Gatlin enjoyed a standout prep career at Inglewood High School in Jacksonville, Florida, but he wasn't able to qualify, so he started looking around for a school to continue playing football.

"I actually talked to someone down here who knew coach (Chuck) Parsons and they said I should look at North Dakota State," Gatlin said. "Coach Parsons is a good coach and a good guy and I prayed about things and it just worked out for me to come up here."

To say the transition from Florida to North Dakota was a big one is an understatement.

"Oh yeah, it's way different," Gatlin admitted with a chuckle. "It's totally a different lifestyle up here and really laid back, but honestly, it has been a real growing experience for me and I couldn't be happier that I came up here."

As a freshman for the Wildcats in 2007, Gatlin had a solid season posting 35 tackles and four interceptions.

"I've been working a lot on my footwork and my coverage skills in general," Gatlin said. "I bench 225 about 10 times, but I want to get stronger too, so I've been focused on all that stuff.

"I feel real comfortable with man-to-man, but I can play zone and my footwork has helped me in that because it allows me to drive on the ball when I need to."

Gatlin is also an outstanding punt and kick returner as well, notching 15 yards per punt return before teams began kicking away from him.

On the recruiting front, Gatlin already has one offer and he's hearing from several other schools from across the country.

"Florida International offered me earlier this year," Gatlin said. "I thought about committing because I really want to get back down south, but then I thought about it and I really should wait and take my time.

"Nebraska, Iowa State, Auburn, Arizona State, Texas Tech and Texas A&M have all been contacting me as well, so I will have some schools looking at me this fall."

Gatlin expects to graduate this December and he'll have three years to play two wherever he ends up.

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