WATERVILLE — On a Colby College football team full of smart athletes, John Gilboy is one of the smartest.
A Saco native and graduate of Thornton Academy, Gilboy carries a 3.7 grade point average as a double major in Biochemisty and Classical Civilizations, two disciplines that usually don’t go together.
“We have to do a language here at Colby. I took a few Latin courses, ended up taking some history courses, looked at my transcripts and thought ‘I’m only three or four (classes) away. Why not give it a shot?” Gilboy said. “If you have a chance, you don’t want to look back and say ‘Well, I could’ve been a double major.’ Just give it a go.”
Just give it a go seems to be Gilboy’s life slogan. A 6-foot, 300-pound senior, Gilboy is a captain of the Colby football team this fall, along with defensive back Philip Amato. Now entering his third year starting at guard on the Mules’ offensive line, Gilboy was a second-team all-New England Small College Athletic Conference selection last season.
Gilboy will be playing right guard when Colby opens the season at Williams College on Saturday.
“John has a focus and commitment to success unlike many people. No matter what it is he does, he’s so competitive. It could be chemistry class. It could be a one-on-one drill. It could be a walk through. He doesn’t want to lose,” said Jonathan Michaeles, Colby’s first-year head coach, who spent the last eight years as an assistant coach with the program. “I don’t have any one thing, because it’s everything that he does. He will not relinquish an inch. He will not give anything to anybody.”
A three-season athlete at Colby, Gilboy also throws the shot for the indoor and outdoor track and field team and placed sixth in the shot put at the conference championship last spring, Gilboy’s academic accomplishments are more impressive than his athletic resume.
Following his freshman season at Colby, Gilboy went to New York to accept a National High School Scholar-Athlete award from the National Football Foundation, one of five players honored from around the nation to receive the award. Last year, Gilboy was the only Colby athlete to earn academic all-district honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America.
A typical Gilboy day starts with class at 8 a.m. and doesn’t end until homework is completed in the evening. After football practice, Gilboy even finds time to help equipment manager Chappy Nelson with the laundry.
A semifinalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy, given annually to the state’s top high school football player, as a senior at Thornton Academy, Gilboy started his college football career as a defensive lineman. When Colby was short on offensive lineman, Gilboy happily switched positions.
“Where can I get on the field faster? I think that’s what it boiled down to. We needed some guards, and I played nose, tackle and guard in high school,” Gilboy said. “I just love offensive line. It’s a certain mentality, I think. I was all for it. A chance to be on the field more than I was the year before, and I love it.”
Added Michaeles: “We had a need that year. We needed some offensive linemen. We knew that he was strong, tough, athletic and reliable, so we made that move. Coach Mestieri (former head coach Ed Mestieri) said this is a guy that’s going to have an impact on our offensive line. He’s started every game since his sophomore year.”
In Colby’s spread offense, guards are asked to do a lot, and that’s part of what attracted Gilboy to the position.
“We have to be versatile. I think every offense in the country now runs some zone (blocking). We have to be able to pull some, man up sometimes,” Gilboy said.
It wasn’t Gilboy’s size or agility that attracted the attention of the Colby coaching staff, but the attitude they saw when they watched him on film.
“He’s just a no-quit kind of guy. He played offense, defense and most special teams on his recruiting film,” Michaeles said.
Michaeles said Gilboy is embracing his role as a captain. Gilboy said he’s one leader among many.
“You’ll see, pretty much everybody who plays Colby football was a captain of their high school team. There’s definitely good leadership around. My style is more, if you’re doing it right, people know you’re doing it right, and it will all work out,” Gilboy said. “You don’t need a captain to say ‘Do this better.’ Every (position) group has its own leaders. Every group has its own seniors. That’s what we require of our team.”
This spring, Gilboy will apply to medical schools. Before enrolling, however, he plans to take a year and maybe intern with a chemical company, or volunteer, or work at a prep school and teach and coach.
Like everything else, Gilboy will give it a go.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242