June 30, 2008
Gilbert ready to compete
Kent State signee Chris Gilbert has loved the sport of football ever since he first put on a helmet at the age of eight. He was so passionate about the sport that he eventually quit playing baseball to concentrate on improving his strength and speed during football's off-season.
Eventually, Gilbert decided he didn't like the free time in the spring and the 6-foot, 185-pounder from Huntersville, N.C., joined the Hopewell High School track team.
"I started running my freshman year because I stopped playing baseball and I was pretty bored in the spring," Gilbert said. "I thought it would be good to do for football to stay in shape."
An all-conference performer on the gridiron, Gilbert quickly became one of the top sprinters on his track team.
"Little did I know that I was going to be top in the state and it got to where I was getting track looks for college," he said. "I actually set the (school) record for the 100 and 200 my junior year. Then I kept getting faster."
Gilbert ran a 10.56-second time in the 100-meters during the Taco Bell Classic that season to break the school record of 10.6. His 21.43-second time in the 200 smashed the old record of 23 seconds.
Still, he had another year to do even better.
"It felt great knowing I had my senior year left," he said about breaking the records as an underclassman.
Heading into the 2008 season, Gilbert set a goal for himself.
"I wanted to break a 10.4 in the 100," he said.
It didn't take long to reach that mark, and afterwards, he walked away from the sport. In just the second meet of the spring, Gilbert set a new school record in the 100-meters and decided it was time to prepare for his future at Kent State�in football.
"After I hit a 10.39, I was satisfied and decided not to try to push anything and get injured," he said. "I stopped running. I talked it over with my parents and we didn't want anything to happen with injury or anything."
Walking away from the sport wasn't difficult. In fact, his junior season he opted to work out at a football combine rather than compete in the state track meet.
"There were camps and stuff that were around the same time as track meets," Gilbert said. "Football was my main sport, so they were more important."
His decision paid off as he received a full scholarship offer from Kent State and in February he signed with the Golden Flashes. He'll report to Ohio at the end of July just in time for the start of fall camp.
"I'm more excited every day," he said. "I head to my high school to work out and run routes with the quarterback that's taking the spot this year and after each workout I can't wait to get up to Kent."
A quarterback in high school, Gilbert will compete for early playing time at wide receiver.
"When I was up there (the coaches) told me that there was a good chance of me playing and as a freshman, playing time is good enough for me," he said.
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