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October 15, 2007Life as a big-time Division I quarterback prospect isn't always easy as it sounds.
For all of the headlines and attention, there's a lot of pressure to perform at a high level. For many of the state's top junior quarterbacks, the challenge to bring outstanding performances on a week-to-week basis has proved to be very tough.
However, one player that seems to be handling the pressures better than most is Austin (Texas) Lake Travis quarterback Garrett Gilbert. The top-rated junior was expected to build off of a stellar sophomore season and emerge as one of the nation's elite prospects for 2009.
Through the first six games of the season, the 6-3, 186-pound Gilbert has more than lived up to the hype. In leading Lake Travis to a 5-1 overall record and a 3-0 start in district play, Gilbert has completed 136 of 225 passes for 1,705 yards and 16 touchdowns, along with eight interceptions..
As good as Gilbert has been this season, the young quarterback always seems to have his focus on the next game.
"I think teams are doing a good job against us, but we're really started to come together as an offense and I think we can play better. I think our potential as a unit with all of our talented receivers and running backs is really high."
According to Gilbert, teams have done everything but throw the kitchen sink at him this season.
"I've seen a lot more this season than I did last year," Gilbert said. "I've seen a lot more blitzes and it's been a little confusing at times."
As well as Lake Travis had played at times this season and as good as he has performed at various times in the first half of the season, Gilbert isn't satisfied.
There are still district titles and playoff success to achieve.
"I don't think we've played a complete game," Gilbert said one night before completing 23 of 30 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns in a 58-14 win over Lampasas. "Even in the wins over Texas City and Westwood, we didn't play as well as we can. I think we showed how good we can be when were clicking. We still have a lot of untapped potential."
With so much football left to be played this season, Gilbert hasn't spent much time thinking about recruiting, although he has taken a few unofficial visits to Texas this season.
"I'm just leaving it in the back of my mind until the season is over," Gilbert said. "I'll start looking after the season, but right now I need to stay focused on helping our team get better. I haven't really even been talking about it."