For Marlow, Oklahoma senior-to-be Jace Gilbert, summertime is not the time for taking it easy.
Gilbert has dreams of playing college football, and the aspiring kicker/punter has started making the rounds at various camps and showcases.
The 6-1, 195-pounder, who’s also the Outlaws’ starting quarterback, recently returned from the Kohl’s Southern Region Kicking Camp in Atlanta, where he took top honors in both the field goal and punting competitions.
“I’ve been going to Kohl’s camps since the summer going into my freshman year,” said Gilbert. “They have five regional showcases and I try to make one of those a year.”
Gilbert won the field goal competition at the Kohl’ camp by making all 12 of his kicks, which varied in length from 35 to 55 yards.
According to the Kohlskicking.com, Gilbert is currently ranked as the #11 high school field goal kicker in the country and the number six punter. His career long field goal in a game is 38 yards, but he’s been successful from 65 yards in practice and workouts.
Gilbert recently received his first official college offer from Army. With his recent camp performance, college coaches are sure to take a greater interest in this small-town talent.
“My goal is wherever I go is to be able to do all three,” said Gilbert of handling punting, kicking field goals and kickoff duties. “That’s been my goal for a while. My punting has been trending up so hopefully I can do that one day.”
Gilbert knows how important it is for a team to have a reliable kicker on the roster.
Gilbert is thankful he was introduced to kicking at a young age. He knows it’s a skill that will allow him to extend his playing career past the high school level.
“I’ve got to give that to my parents,” admitted Gilbert on learning to kick as a kid. “My dad is actually a coach here in Marlow. He’s always known the difference in a team being good and a team being great could be if they have a weapon as a kicker. My mom played college soccer and she taught me how to kick a soccer ball at a young age.”
“As a kid, I just started going to the field during high school practice and kicking,” added Gilbert. “My mom worked with me a little bit on that and it just kind of went from there.”
Gilbert plans on attending camps at Iowa State, Kansas State and Oklahoma State this summer, and may add Texas and Baylor to that list. Thanks to his performance at the regional kicking camp in Atlanta, he’s also qualified to compete at the Kohl’s National Invitational Scholarship camp July 24-25 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Following the summer camp tour, Gilbert is anxious to begin his senior season, where he hopes to lead Marlow to another deep playoff run. The Outlaws advanced to the OSSAA Class 2A quarterfinals a year ago before losing to eventual state champion Metro Christian, 35-31.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” admitted Gilbert. “We’ve got a lot of guys coming back and we’ve got some young guys that I think can step up and help us. I think we’ve got a chance to hopefully meet up with Metro again because I think that would be a good matchup for us.”