Justin Gilbert: His Coach's Take

Justin Gilbert

GoPokes.com interviewed the high school coach for each of the Oklahoma State commitments in the days leading up to National Signing Day. In this installment of "His Coach's Take," we visit with Shane Martin, who was defensive coordinator last season at Huntsville High School but was recently promoted to head coach, about Justin Gilbert, a 6-2, 190-pound athlete from Huntsville, Texas.

What are his strengths as a football player?
Shane Martin: I think his biggest strength is he can play anywhere. Justin played for us on offense, played for us on defense, and played for us on special teams. He's just the type of kid that you can put him in and he can play anywhere.

What do you believe will be his biggest challenge in going from high school to playing in the Big 12?
Shane Martin: I think Justin's biggest challenge is going to be realizing that the game is not under his control all the time. Here in high school he played quarterback and most of the time had the green light to take off and run or throw the ball when he wanted to, he's just got to realize that the game is going to be a lot faster and he's not always going to have control of the situation.

Was there one game, or maybe even one play, during his career that you'll always remember?
Shane Martin: It's kind of funny that you ask that because we were playing against a team called Magnolia West (this season), and Justin took off sprinting hard going to his right and he wanted to show pitch on the option. Well, there wasn't a pitch back there (for him), and he reversed his field and came all the way across the field and went 78 yards for a touchdown. That's one of them. Then there was another one when we were playing Waller and Justin came around the corner (with the ball) and a young man had him dead to right, he hurdled over him and sent about seven yards further down the field and ran over another kid. Justin is basically a human highlight, but those two plays stand out in my mind and show the things he can do in a ballgame. He's truly a game-breaker.

What are three words that describe him as a football player?
Shane Martin: Explosiveness. Unbelievable talent. Leadership.

Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State?
Shane Martin: Those guys did an outstanding job of recruiting him. I think the reason he chose it was because when he went up there (to visit) it just felt like he left one house and walked into another one. He just really felt at home. I think he felt like he was really needed. They said a few things to him, and it wasn't about playing time, it wasn't about how much he was going to play as a freshman, but they said things to him that made him feel like, boy Oklahoma State really wants me. Like any of us, we like that feeling of being needed, and he got that feeling that they wanted him and he needed to be there.

What type of impact to you expect him to have on the OSU football program?
Shane Martin: I think Justin is the type of kid who can come in there … he's about 6-2 and weighs about 190 pounds now, and I think Justin's first impact on OSU is going to be his play on special teams. I think he can be a kick returner, and if they kick the ball to him he can make things happen.

Over the course of his college career, whether it be four or five years, what do you expect him to accomplish?
Shane Martin: I think Justin will accomplish a few things. I think number one, and the most important thing that he's going to do is he's going to leave a legacy at OSU. I think he's going to leave there and people are going to know that they really got a special player in him. I think one of the biggest things that he accomplishes is just being an impact player.

What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Shane Martin: That Justin is probably one of the quietest practical jokers that you'll ever be around. You never know what he's going to do, and it's always fun. I think the biggest thing I'll remember about Justin is just the pleasure it is to be around him, both on the field and off the field. Not that he's just an outstanding athlete but just his personality, and the environment he brings to your program.

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