Each week we will feature a college football player who is either a member or an officer in a Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.
Name: Justin Gilbert
College: University of Maryland
Height, weight, class, position: 6-6, 300 pounds, senior, offensive tackle
High School: Monacan High School, Richmond, Virginia
About Justin Gilbert: A fifth-year senior who has been involved with Uplifting Athletes since his sophomore year, Gilbert has overcome a pair of injuries to the same knee to earn the starting spot at right tackle. He’s played left tackle, guard and right tackle for the Terrapins since earning a starting position as a sophomore in 2010 before his first knee injury put him on the shelf after only three games.
As a player, what is your favorite part of game day you get to experience at your home stadium?
Gilbert: My favorite part of game day at Byrd is after we win the game the whole team runs down to the student section and we sing the fight song with the fans. It’s an awesome experience because you get to go share the victory with all the fans that were cheering us on during the game.
What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?
Gilbert: My most memorable experience would have to be beating Navy two years ago. It was my first collegiate start, playing in Baltimore Ravens stadium against our in-state rivals. The game went all the way to the very end where the defense made a huge stand on fourth down. We went in on offense and ran victory to win the game and it was just a great feeling for everybody.
What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes, and what if anything has this experience done for you?
Gilbert: I got involved with Uplifting Athletes my sophomore year. It was just starting out on our team and we really liked the idea and wanted to help out. It’s been a great experience for me and every year we have done better raising money and putting on our events. I’ve enjoyed working with my teammates and the community to help raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis.
Facebook, Twitter or neither and why?
Gilbert: Not really big on either. I would choose Facebook just because you stay connected with friends and family. I have a Twitter but don’t really use it. I just don’t see a reason to post what I’m doing every second of the day.
What is the toughest team you’ve faced or regularly play and what makes them so difficult?
Gilbert: Toughest team we play every year is West Virginia. It’s a big rivalry game for us and the games are usually pretty close. They are a very good team and playing at their stadium is tough because they have a great fan base that really gets hyped up on game day.
What is your chosen major, and what if anything have you used from that major as a contribution to your Uplifting Athletes Chapter?
Gilbert: My major is Criminal Justice so I haven’t really used much of it to help with Uplifting Athletes. I do enjoy talking to people and networking and this has helped me very much getting people involved in the chapter and helping to raise money.
Besides one of your teammates, name a college football player you enjoy watching?
Gilbert: Even though they are a rival, Geno Smith from West Virginia is having a crazy season. The game against Baylor was unbelievable.
Who is your favorite NFL player and why?
Gilbert: My favorite player in the NFL is Joe Thomas from the Browns. I’m an offensive tackle and I watch film on him a lot to work on my own technique and he is just a great player who loves playing the game and doesn’t get caught up in off-the -ield incidents.
What was or is the inspiration for the Rare Disease your Uplifting Athletes Chapter is raising money for to be part of the fight?
Gilbert: Our chapter raises money for the Boomer Esiason Foundation for Cystic Fibrosis. Boomer was a quarterback here at Maryland and his son Gunnar has Cystic Fibrosis. As an alumni for a school and a big contributor to Maryland athletics we wanted to raise money to help his foundation.
What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why?
Gilbert: My favorite road stadium would have to be Clemson. It’s an awesome place to play with a great game day environment and we beat them there a couple years ago and the stadium was dead quiet which was really cool for us.