BY GENE NARDI
Royal Palm Beach High School football standout Trey Gilbert recently signed a letter of intent to play for Keiser University. The senior outside linebacker will make history as part of the university’s inaugural football season.
“We’ll be the first to touch all the new equipment,” said an excited Gilbert. “We’ll be the first to sweat in the weight room and everything.”
The Mississippi native moved to Florida in his junior year with his mother and four siblings for a new start on life. He settled in at Royal Palm Beach High School, where he continued to play football.
His career began at Lake Cormorant High School in Mississippi, where he played for the varsity squad. He then played inside and outside linebacker for the Wildcats both his junior and senior year.
Royal Palm Beach is known to have a stingy defense, which is where Gilbert began to shine.
“I tried to play a big role on defense, and be a team leader and motivator,” Gilbert said. “I would come to practice and fire everybody up.”
Gilbert’s breakout season was his senior year. His accomplishments include 76 solo tackles, seven sacks, three pass deflections and a blocked field goal. He made so much noise this season on the Wildcats defense, it drew the attention of the Florida-Georgia All-Star Game committee.
“It helped me because we went against great talent,” Gilbert said. “It was the best of the best, and that’s how it will be in college.”
Gilbert played on Team Florida’s defense as linebacker, and took on an integral role in Florida’s 22-14 win over Georgia.
Gilbert was a multi-sport student athlete, excelling also as a wrestler in the 170-pound and 182-pound weight classes. He placed third in the district tournament, which qualified him for regionals. Gilbert will finish out his high school athletic career on the school’s track and field team, where he runs the 100-meter and 200-meter dash, the four-by-one relay and the long jump. He also played two years of varsity soccer.
There is a formula that Gilbert has used during his high school career. “I use the other sports to better prepare me for football,” Gilbert told the Town-Crier. “Soccer gave me endurance; wrestling helped me tackle better; and track and field built speed.”
His rationale makes sense, and it appears to have paid great dividends.
Gilbert selected Keiser over other offers because he wanted the opportunity for his family to see him play, and he welcomed the chance to be a part of history in the making, being on the Keiser football program’s first roster. “It’s special and a new beginning,” he said.
When Gilbert was invited to the campus and met coach Doug Socha, he made quite an impression.
“I was the only one who showed up dressed professionally, and they understood my drive,” Gilbert said. “My mother works two jobs, and she always tells me if you want something, you have to work to get it.”
Gilbert’s ultimate goal is to play in the National Football League and to help his mother and his younger brother, who was on Royal Palm Beach’s freshman team last season. Gilbert added that playing college football locally will help him be more available to help train his younger brother.
“It’s important for me to mentor my little brother,” he said. “He can come to watch my games with my mom and sisters, too.”
Gilbert already knows what he wants to study at Keiser.
“I want to study sports medicine or criminal justice,” he said. “I have law enforcement in my family, and it really interests me.”
As he gets ready to make the transition to the next level, Gilbert is carefully mapping out his course for the future. To follow Gilbert and the Keiser University Seahawks as they gear up for their inaugural season, visit www.kuseahawks.com for more information.
ABOVE: Royal Palm Beach High School football standout Trey Gilbert tackles a West Boca ball carrier.