With Jimmy Garoppolo becoming the Patriots’ temporary starting quarterback after the NFL suspended Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady for the first 4 games of the 2015 season for his role in “Deflategate,” untested signal-caller Garrett Gilbert moves into the back-up position.
It’s a role the Gilbert family knows quite well. His dad, Gale Gilbert, carried clipboards for two Super Bowl quarterbacks and holds a super distinction.
Here’s what you should know about Garrett Gilbert, a record-breaking high school quarterback who won a ring with the Patriots last season:
1. He Has Not Played a Regular-Season Game
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound 23-year-old — who was the National Player of the Year in high school — went to the Rams in the 6th round (214th) of the 2014 draft. He saw some time during the 2014 preseason but never touched the field when it mattered.
The Rams released him during final cuts of 2014 but resigned him to the practice squad only to cut him again two months later.
On December 17, 2014, the Patriots signed Gilbert to the practice squad and he stayed with the team throughout its Super Bowl run.
His salary for 2015 is $445,000.
Former UT QB Garrett Gilbert is one Jimmy Garoppolo injury away from starting for the Super Bowl champs vs the Cowboys on 10/11.
— Mike Barnes (@MikeB_KVUE) May 11, 2015
2. The Start & End of His Career at Texas Was Turbulent
As a freshman, Gilbert backed up golden boy Colt McCoy and got into 10 games. He completed 30 of 66 attempts for 310 yards with 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
But it’s what happened at the Rose Bowl on the night of January 8, 2010, that stands out most to college football diehards in Texas and Alabama. McCoy went down five plays into the BCS title game against Alabama, thus thrusting Gilbert into the seminal moment of his young life. He’d thrown 26 passes up to that point, none of them meaningful.
“Here’s a guy standing there on the sidelines who’s as cold as he could be, and all of a sudden in the national championship game, it’s like, ‘O.K., son, you’ve got it.’ I can’t even imagine,” Texas coach Mack Brown said.
Gilbert rallied the Longhorns within 24-21 with 6 minutes to play …
Garrett Gilbert's girlfriend is officially terrified right now. She's one TD away from getting traded in like a 2003 Buick.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) January 8, 2010
… but committed 3 turnovers during crunch time as the Crimson Tide pulled away and captured the title with a 37-27 win. He completed 15 of 40 passes for 186 yards with 2 TDs and 4 picks.
You can watch the game here.
“Obviously, it was a tough, humbling experience. That defense did a great job all night long.”
McCoy (Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2008, finalist in ’09) graduated and Gilbert, the country’s best high school passer his senior year, took over and started all 12 games for the Longhorns. He completed 260 of 441 passes for 2,744 yards and 10 TDs with 17 picks. Not exactly up to snuff for diehard Longhorn fans.
He started the first two games of 2011 — 15 of 31 for 247 yards and a TD (2 picks) — but it wasn’t working out the way everyone in burnt orange thought it should, and his career in Austin soon ended.
He told Judy Battista of NFL.com: “Hearing boos again, not really being able to shake that, at that point I kind of knew it might be time to start over and wipe the slate clean. It’s tough to sum up quickly. For whatever reason, things didn’t work out. I think that led to some forcing the ball, trying to force things to happen. Maybe I read the papers a little too much, as well.”
3. The Son of a Super Bowl Quarterback Transferred to SMU
With the Mustangs, Gilbert put up strong numbers as a junior and senior. He completed 603 of 1,010 passes (59.7 percent) for 6,460 yards and 36 TDs with 22 picks.
SMU went 7-6 (5-3 Conference USA) in 2012 and beat Fresno State 43-10 in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl before lagging in 2013 and dropping 7 of 12 games (4-4 C-USA).
In a game against Temple last year, Gilbert accounted for 635 total yards — the seventh-best mark in NCAA history — with almost 100 of them on the ground. He threw 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions before his season ended early with a knee injury.” target=”_blank”>seventh-best single-game performance in NCAA history against Temple that year with 635 all-purpose yards, including 100 rushing. He had 21 TDs and 7 picks when a knee injury ended his SMU career. He wasn’t invited to the 2013 NFL Combine.
4. Texas Slinger Was the No.1 QB in the Country
Gilbert was born in Buffalo in 1991 — during dad’s days as back-up to Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly — but went to Lake Travis High in Texas and broke all kinds of records while leading the school to the 2007 Texas UIIL Class 4A Division II state title. His records included completions (359), attempts (555) and yards (4,827).
He underwent shoulder surgery but didn’t miss a beat in 2008 as Lake Travis went 16-0 and repeated as champions. He threw for 4,851 yards and 55 TDs and finished his high school career with a state-record 12,534 yards passing, which broke Graham Harrell’s record by 2 yards. The Cavaliers went 39-4 when he started.
His accolades include Gatorade Male Athlete of the Year (2008), Gatorade Football Player of the Yeaer (2008), USA Today Offensive Player of the Year (2008) and a boatload of other awards.
5. His Dad Went to 5 Straight Super Bowls
Gale Gilbert went to Cal then bounced around the NFL from 1985 to 1995, not only backing up the likes of Dave Krieg and Jim Zorn in Seattle, Jim Kelly in Buffalo, and Stan Humphries in San Diego, but he’s the only player in NFL history to go to the Super Bowl five straight years — four times with the Bills and then with the Chargers.
That said, he’s also the only player in NFL history to be on five straight Super Bowl losers.
He played 58 games (0-4 when he started) and completed 146 of 259 passes for 1,544 yards and 9 TDs (12 picks).
The Gilberts are one of at least 14 father-son tandems to reach the Super Bowl.
Wait, THAT Garrett Gilbert is on the Patriots roster?!
— Gabe Jones (@cgabrielj) May 11, 2015
The rest of Twitter is having fun too.