The Oregon Ducks have had strong defensive backfields under Coach John Neal. One of his top returning corners heading into the 2011 season is fifth year senior Anthony Gildon.
Gildon is coming off six starts at corner to begin his junior campaign, sitting out the next two games with injury. The 6-foot-2, 180 pound Oaks Christian high school product finished the season with 18 total tackles and two passes deflected.
Duck Sports Authority asked Coach Neal about his expectations for Gildon going into his final year at the University of Oregon.
"Anthony Gildon has been a starter for us, he will be a fifth-year senior," replied Neal. "He's making plays, he's competing, he's smart and I expect Anthony to have a big year."
A portion of Coach Neal's expectations may arise from the fact that Gildon is a phenomenal athlete. Last year, Gildon displayed a jump reach of an astounding 38 inches. During winter conditioning this year, he raised his vertical up to a team-best 39.5 inches.
The starting job will not be handed to Gildon. Redshirt freshman Terrance "T-Mitch" Mitchell had a solid spring and has loads of talent. The 6-foot, 185 pound Luther Burbank high school graduate pushed Gildon all camp long.
"I would definitely say Terrance Mitchell is behind him," assessed Neal. "Terrance is a freshman that has a complete upside. I think it will be a battle all year at that position. I expect Anthony will hold onto that battle. When you're a fifth-year senior, you've got to fight for that position because it's going to get challenged."
During practices Gildon can often be seen spreading advice around to the younger players. Coach Neal has been impressed with Gildon's maturity.
"Anthony is an executive," said Neal. "He's smart, he's confident, he's poised. He's a great character guy. He's the type of guy somebody wants to hire in business because he's ready to go right now."
But the business world will have to wait for at least one more season for Anthony Gildon. The Oregon Ducks have big plans for him the next several months.