Gilbert takes unofficials, names a leader

The past few weeks have been busy for Richmond (Va.) Monacan offensive tackle Justin Gilbert. The 6-foot-6, 280-pounder took unofficial visits to three schools, two in the ACC and one in the Big East.
"I just got back last night from Maryland," he said. "I had a good visit there. I came up for their last scrimmage and talked to all the coaches including coach Friedgen and Brattan. Coach Griffin also took us on a tour of the campus and showed me where I'd stay.
"It was my first time actually going around seeing everything. I liked that it is its own little town there with a hotel, Wawa, McDonald's and more. It's a real pretty campus."
What did Gilbert think about the scrimmage he attended?
"They looked real good," he said. "The offense was kind of slow at first, but they stepped it up and played well later on. They tried not to do a lot of hitting, so no one would get hurt since they've got a game in a week.
"As for the offensive line, they looked real good too. I especially liked the way coach Brattan coaches them in a game situation."
Meanwhile, the conversation with the coaches went well for the Richmond prospect.
"It was my first time talking to them outside of a practice setting," he said. "It was my first time casually talking to coach Friedgen. He talked to me about how practices went and how the team looked this year. He's a real nice guy off the field, but on it he's strict. I like the fact he's tough with you. He's making sure you know what you're supposed to be doing."
The visit to College Park has put the Terrapins in the lead for the two-star prospect.
"They are probably my No. 1 school right now," he said. "I'd say Tech is real close behind them.
"I did go down to Clemson and Boston College for visits recently, but Virginia Tech and Maryland have offers out. I've got kind of a commitment to those places first. The fact those other two haven't offered kind of hurts them a little bit. If they offer soon I'll still look at them, but I do like the ones that offered first because they are waiting for better players."
Gilbert went on to discuss his two other visits.
"I went down to Clemson for practice two weeks ago and then to Boston College for their senior day the first Saturday of August," he said. "I like Boston College. It was a nice campus, but kind of far away. I'd hate to have my family fly up there to see a home game. I also don't like the city that much. It kind of reminds me of Richmond, but three times as big.
"I really liked Clemson too, although I can't see myself practicing in the middle of August in 110 to 115 degree heat. It's kind of like Virginia Tech with a lot of fields. They also have big tradition running down the hill. I like the fact the whole town is around the college. Everyone is interested in the football team."
What's next for Gilbert?
"I've got tickets to all the games," he said. "I'll probably go over to Richmond once or twice for unofficials since they've been so good to me. I'll probably go to Virginia Tech and Maryland for games too.
"Then, I'm looking at possibly deciding by the end of September or beginning of October. I'll keep talking to other coaches since some want me to send film. Based on what I have, I may make my decision a little later. That's the plan right now."
While recruiting may be wrapping up, practice is in full swing for Gilbert.
"We open the season on September 7th," he said. "We're looking good. We got our whole defense back and have young kids on offense trying to get it done. I think we'll be decent.
"I've improved too. All the camps I went to this summer helped a lot. I learned different techniques with all those coaches and I'm training harder."