Gilbert Gildersleeve III commits to Arkansas State. Gildersleeve is a much-needed cornerback with good size at 6’1″ 180 pounds. Gildersleeve comes from Orange Coast CC in Costa Mesa, California.
Gildersleeve will help fill a major role due to the graduation of Rocky Hayes and the injury to Jamaris Hart. The Red Wolves needed corner help also as signees with the 2016 failed to qualify.
Gildersleeve considers himself a, “Lockdown Ace” type of cornerback, and the Red Wolves will need just that as he joins a squad with lots of inexperience at the position. With Chris Humes, presumably, taking over for Rocky Hayes, the other side of the field appears to be wide open. The favorite at this time would be Blaise Taylor, but Taylor could also find himself inside working against the slot receiver.
The Red Wolves will be getting a player that has shown a knack for the ball. Gildersleeve doesn’t shy away from contact and loves to locate the ball in the air and come away with it. He has the ability to make circus type catches and force turnovers.
Another thing you will notice is that Gildersleeve loves to hit people. I noticed that often he failed to try to wrap up when he was the last line of defense, but he hit so hard that the ball carrier would slam into the ground and at times lose possession of the ball. A weakness noticed in his game was his strength. He fought many times with bigger players trying to take them down, but when needed did wrap up and refuse to let go until helped arrived. This will prove beneficial as he joins the Red Wolves, due to the hunting in a pack mentality the team has.
Gildersleeve is very handsy with opponents. Inside the 5 yard mark he’ll knock them off their line and maintain good position usually throughout the play. At times, he will jam and grab ahold of receivers after 5 yards, especially in the end one, so special attention will need to be paid towards his technique to make sure flags are thrown at a minimal amount.
Gildersleeve doesn’t just have a knack for jamming receivers and locating the ball in the air, but he has also got great vision. He has the ability to see a play develop and then jump a route for the interception. He often played in man coverage and would help take away the opponents best receiver, but when in zone he would watch the quarterbacks eyes and make him pay.
One thing that did concern me was how he played against quarterbacks that could roll out and get outside of the pocket. At times his positioning was perfect, but others he would lose track and allow the quarterback to run freely. Where he would make up for his mistakes is when he did notice the quarterback getting loose outside of the pocket and he closed in, he would lay the lumber on him and jar the ball loose.
GIldersleeve is a great, late pickup for the Red Wolves. They were thin at a position and they pulled someone in who could help immediately. He has the size and speed to be a good player for the SBC Champions, and if his play from the JUCO ranks can translate to the D1 level then he could be a steal for the Red Wolves.