The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX


May 7, 2014

2014 NFL DRAFT — For Huntsville's Justin Gilbert, going pro was never in doubt

Being highly-touted draft prospect does not come as surprise to former Hornet football star

HUNTSVILLE — Justin Gilbert was just killing time at his mother’s corner brick house a few miles west of town before a last-minute meeting with the Cleveland Browns on Monday.

It was less than 24 hours until his flight to New York City for the start of the NFL Draft on Thursday.

Gilbert, a former standout at Huntsville High School, is rated by many as the top cornerback in the draft after becoming an All-American at Oklahoma State.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to the 22-year-old, who for the past several weeks has made it clear he believes himself to be the best at his position and a transcendent type of defensive player.

“Since I was little, this is something I told myself I was going to do,” Gilbert said. “It’s finally here so it’s not a big surprise to me. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. But I think when I get on that plane, or when I get to New York, I might get some bubble guts. Every day, I wonder where I’m going to be living and who I’ll be playing for. Those are the questions I don’t have answers to right now, but eager to find out.”

Eager, but not enough to get too emotional. By the end of the week, Gilbert’s greatest football moment will be hearing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell call his name from the podium at Radio City Music Hall.

The only thing that could get Gilbert teary-eyed is if he sees his mother Iwanna Rolling break down from the excitement.

“I have no idea what will happen. I’m probably not going to cry but I don’t know how (my mother) is going to take it when my name is called,” Gilbert said. “If she starts crying, I’ll try my best not to look at her. No, but it’s something I think I’ll handle well and with a big smile on my face.”

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