(See Marcus Gilbert profile)
Johnson was the unofficial team comedian for the East team at the US Army All-American Bowl. The big guy from North Carolina wears a constant smile on his face and he's a big-time practical joker. Johnson's personality and attitudes made him the perfect host for Gilbert. The two big guys got along very well and they're already looking forward to playing on the offensive line together at the University of Florida.
"He's a very funny dude," said Gilbert, the four-star rated offensive tackle from Fort Lauderdale's St. Thomas Aquinas who committed to the Gators back on January 1. "He's just like me in a lot of ways. He's really laid back. He's just a good guy.
"He told me a lot about Coach (John) Hevesy and school since he's already here."
Gilbert is a 6-6, 285-pounder with long arms and quick feet. He was part of an offensive line at St. Thomas Aquinas that will send five-star tackle Sam Young and four-star center Dan Wenger to Notre Dame. He is expected to gain 20-30 pounds of upper body weight without losing speed.
During the visit to Gainesville, he spent a lot of time with the Florida coaching staff. He returned to Fort Lauderdale with a good understanding of what's expected of him in the offseason.
"They told me you better be ready for the upcoming season and they told me work out and work on the small things I need to improve on," Gilbert said.
Gilbert said that he will be working very hard to get ready for late June when he enrolls at Florida. He said that Gator fans can expect that he arrive in Gainesville much improved and ready to go from the moment he arrives.
"You can expect a better physical guy and a better all around player … a better guy off the field who will be ready to try to help get an SEC championship," he said.
Gilbert has a website at MySpace.com. Last week it was discovered that a University of Miami emblem was on his site. Gilbert said there's nothing to it and that Gator fans don't have anything to worry about.
"A friend of mine put it on there just to play around with me," he said.
As for published reports that he will be taking an official visit to the University of Miami next weekend, Gilbert responded, "That's not going to happen."
Marcus Gilbert is a well spoken young man who has tremendous potential as an offensive tackle. He is considered a key pickup for the Gators at a position of need but also an important commitment since he's from St. Thomas Aquinas which regularly sends top players to Division I football programs.
Gilbert plays for the basketball team at St. Thomas Aquinas and in the spring he will be throwing the shot and discus for the track team. His brother David is a defensive lineman at Iowa.
Gilbert has a test score and strong core GPA. He is fully qualified.