You can’t go much further south than Fort Lauderdale in the United States. Torrance Gibson understands the complications distance presents more than anyone. The 1,100-mile trip is what’s kept him from Columbus, Ohio. That all changes tonight.
The dual-threat quarterback, set to make a college decision in October, will finally step foot on Ohio State’s campus after previous visits fell through. Gibson, a five-star 2015 recruit, will be on hand for Friday Night Lights but not participate. Instead, his time on the 1,777-acre campus will be spent listening to coaches explain where he fits for the Buckeyes.
Okay next time I'm taking a plane #JetLife— Torrance Gibson (@quick_tg6) July 25, 2014
Once again, Urban Meyer and Mark Pantoni’s vision of Friday Night Lights proves successful. The event started at Florida as an opportunity for blue chippers to showcase themselves against elite competition. It doubles as an equally valuable occasion for Ohio State’s coaches.
All together, they’ll be in a lit-up Ohio Stadium, thanks to the recent construction of permanent lights. Thousands of fans will be in attendance, setting off a buzz in the stadium that will act as an introduction to the Horseshoe.
Gibson’s presence will add to the hoopla.
Some recruiting services list Gibson as an athlete, but the American Heritage star should get an opportunity to play quarterback at Ohio State. His skill set meshes well with what Meyer and Tom Herman covet from quarterbacks and Gibson’s already proven he can produce results.
At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, he gives off visions of Terrelle Pryor. The 4.47 speed only adds to the picture. Last season, Gibson put up video-game numbers, completing 55 percent of his pass attempts for 1,789 yards with 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions. His rushing statistics – 1,063 yards and 10 touchdowns on 111 attempts – might be even more impressive.
The speed and athleticism combined with size has some colleges seeking Gibson as a wide receiver. He dabbled at the position in 7-on-7 tournaments and camps this summer, but remains steadfast in his desire to play quarterback in college. Gibson’s current favorites, Tennessee and Auburn, have him pegged behind center.
“I’m not an athlete, I’m a quarterback,” Gibson said at The Opening.
During the past year, the Buckeyes’ interest in Gibson – or at least the perception – has resembled the Millennium Force, with its peaks and valleys. Gibson slid Ohio State down his list of finalists, though this weekend’s visit bodes well. The last time he spoke with Ohio State’s coaches face-to-face was at the Orange Bowl when Gibson watched the Buckeyes practice.
Being present on campus is one of Ohio State’s top goals. If they can get recruits to Columbus, they believe the chances of a commitment soar. It’s all about showcasing what they can be a part of. From the looks of Gibson’s Twitter page, he’s excited about his arrival in the Midwest.
I will still be attending Ohio State "Friday Night Lights" #BuckeyeNation— Torrance Gibson (@quick_tg6) July 24, 2014
The Buckeyes already have one quarterback signed in the current recruiting class – Athens native Joe Burrow, a three-star dual-threat who was on few program’s radar, committed in late May. Making room for another quarterback is a non-issue.
It’s a position of utmost importance for what Meyer wants to accomplish. In his two-plus years on the job, J.T. Barrett, Stephen Collier and Burrow are the quarterbacks he’s received commitments from.
Gibson is primed to back up his stellar junior season. It was his first full year as the starting quarterback. Not that it stopped the U.S. Army All-American Bowl from extending an invitation to the sought after player.
“He’s obviously probably the finest athlete in the country,” Trent Dilfer said at the Elite 11 camp.
An athlete – or quarterback – Meyer wants to see in scarlet and gray.