Wallace Gilberry # DE
Height: 6-2 Weight: 270 Age: 31
Born: 12/5/1984 Spanish Fort , AL
Experience: 9th season
High School: Baldwin County HS [Bay Minette, AL]
What started out as a promising 2007 season for the Crimson Tide turned into a second-half tailspin, as Alabama lost their final four regular season games. The main culprit was the Tide secondary, which allowed 221.31 yards per game, compared to an average of 173.08 yards the previous season. Among the bright spots was the play of Wallace Gilberry.
Gilberry led the team in quarterback sacks and tackles for loss three times during his four-year career. He would finish his career at Alabama second all-time in tackles behind the line of scrimmage (60.5), fifth on the Tide's all-time sack list (21.5) and 10th in quarterback pressures (38).
At Baldwin County High School, Gilberry was an unheralded tight end earlier in his career before coming into his own at defensive end during his final prep campaign. He started seven games at tight end as a junior, but made a name for himself on the defensive side of the ball. As a senior, he collected 77 tackles (61 solo) with seven sacks, seven stops for losses, six pass deflections, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
It wasn't long ago that Gilberry's ambitions fell short of the football field. Without recruiting interest from Division I-A schools, he "was hoping to be a manager at IHOP." "I'm being honest with you, I was a server for three months," Gilberry said. "I was working my way up the ladder."
Gilberry eventually parlayed an invitation to the Alabama-Mississippi High School All-Star Classic into a college football future. Gilberry finished the all-star game with six tackles and two sacks in a performance deemed "dominating" by Press-Register sports editor Randy Kennedy. Alabama coach Mike Shula took notice. With just over a minute to play, he sacked the Mississippi quarterback for a 14-yard loss in the red zone to help give his team the victory.
Coming off a standout high school senior season, Gilberry was redshirted in 2003 at Alabama. He had a banner 2004 preseason camp and carried that momentum over into the season. Despite playing behind Todd Bates at left defensive end for all 12 games, he recorded 28 tackles (14 solo) with seven pressures, leading the Tide with 6.5 sacks and 13 stops for losses. He also caused and recovered a pair of fumbles.
In 2005, Gilberry took over left defensive end duties, starting his final 38 games at that position. He registered 37 tackles (16 solo), 1.5 sacks, 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage and six pressures. He also broke up a pass and recovered a fumble. He added 10 pounds of bulk to his frame prior to 2006, going on to post 43 tackles (22 solo) while leading the Tide with 3.5 sacks and 10.5 stops for losses in 2006. He also collected 10 pressures as a junior.
The Ted Hendricks Award semifinalist finally received postseason recognition as a senior, being named to the All-Southeastern Conference first-team. He ranked third in the nation and led the SEC with a career-high 27 stops behind the line of scrimmage, the second-highest season total in school history. He finished second on the squad with a career-high 80 tackles (47 solo) and his 10 sacks tied for sixth on the school's single-season chart. He added 15 pressures with two forced fumbles and also batted away a pair of passes.
In 50 games at Alabama, Gilberry started 38 contests. He finished with 188 tackles (99 solos), as his 21.5 sacks for minus-135 yards rank fifth in Tide annals. His 60.5 stops for losses of 223 yards rank second and his 38 pressures rank 10th on Alabama's career-record list. He caused four fumbles, recovered three others and deflected four passes.