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Marcus Gilbert


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Even with all of the pressure placed on Gilbert to protect the blind side of Gators' superstar quarterback Tim Tebow, the importance of his security detail paled in comparison to his father's. Jeff Gilbert served as a Secret Service agent for presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and helped protect current President Barack Obama on the campaign trail. Given Marcus' talent, however, it's likely he will be paid much more handsomely than his father for protecting NFL field generals.

Recruited by several high-profile programs, Gilbert chose Florida even though he knew he would have to wait his turn to play regularly. He played two games in 2006, his first year in Gainesville, then redshirted the season to save eligibility. Gilbert then played in 26 of the 27 games the Gators played in '07 and '08, starting once at left guard and once at right guard because of injuries. Although he didn't win all-conference honors from league coaches or media in 2009, scouts noticed his steady play as Tebow's personal body guard for all 14 games.

Gilbert will not be on the blind side in 2010, as Tebow has moved on to the NFL and new signal caller John Brantley is right-handed. But Gilbert's job remains the same: protect his quarterback and make room for the bevy of talented running backs carrying the ball for the Gators in the post-Tebow era. His footwork, strength and size on the edge should allow him to succeed, and let scouts see him as a very capable starter at the next level.

Pass blocking: Solid pass protector with a quick set, fluid lateral movement and willingness to go out and punch his man off the snap instead of waiting for the rush to come to him. Usually keeps his feet active and arms extended while engaged. Sustains after initial contact and can anchor against most ends. Good balance to protect the inside lane. Reacts quickly to late blitzers on most plays, escorting them around the pocket with his length. Must become more consistent picking up linebackers off the edge against 3-4 fronts. Gets down well to cut block on quick throws, but needs to get more of his opponent to take him out. Will lunge while recovering from strong initial contact.

Run blocking: Effective size and mobility to be an extremely effective positional blocker at the next level. Anchors against strong defensive ends well, resets his hands to sustain the block. Moves his feet to wall off backside run support and sustain until the play is away. Also has quick feet to the second level; does more than get in the way, will extend his arms to fully negate linebacker (raises them off the ground at times). Good drive-blocker, churns forward after engaging and will usher his man downfield for seven to 10 yards. Could potential turn defenders out of the hole. Athletic and long enough to block down on tackles and still push blitzing linebackers out of the play. Body control and posture must be more consistent; loses his balance when leaning forward against defensive ends or lunging towards linebackers at the second level. Will get tripped up in trash.

Pulling/trapping: Effective trapping inside and getting out in front of plays run to side because of his quick feet. Moves around the guard or tight end well for his size, is flexible enough to turn the corner and find a target. Takes out linebackers in space by latching on or laying out his tall frame on cut blocks. Needs to use his hands to get through trash and will get tripped up at times because he leans too far forward. Does not always adjust well to inside defenders; can get a hand on smaller defenders but is best when heading straight for his target.

Initial Quickness: Gets off the snap very well for his size, gets into his opponent if man-up on the outside or tries to get to the linebackers in a hurry. Strong punch and arm extension to pass protect or lock up his man on run plays. Quick kick-slide to mirror most strong-side ends, though not elite in this area; his length allows him to compensate against quicker college defensive ends.

Downfield: Has the mix of hustle and athleticism to get a hand inside on the tackle, push aside a linebacker and reach a safety ten yards downfield on a single run play. Does not always hit inside defenders or other intended targets, however, as quicker defenders will sidestep him because he runs upright. Can be too satisfied just getting in the way, needs to sustain downfield blocks longer to prevent his man from chasing down plays.

Intangibles: Reliable, durable player who consistently gives good effort. One of the team's senior leaders for 2010. Mature, well-liked player with no known character issues. Studies his playbook and constantly looks to improve. Father is a retired Secret Service agent.

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