How Torrance Gibson's Affinity With Urban Meyer Made Ohio State a Serious Contender Again

By Patrick Maks on July 26, 2014 at 6:00a
Torrance Gibson left Friday Night Lights all smiles.

Under the veil of night, Urban Meyer and Torrance Gibson left Ohio Stadium side-by-side, beaming like two old pals who just needed to catch up.

Prior to their Friday Night Lights encounter, Ohio State’s annual recruiting showcase extravaganza, the two hadn’t seen each other since January, where Gibson watched the Buckeyes practice near his hometown of Fort Lauderdale before losing to Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

Gibson, one of the nation’s finest and most sought after quarterback recruits, is a tall (6-foot-4), lanky (195 pounds) and lighting-fast (4.4 40-yard dash) athlete. Think Terrelle Pryor, but skinnier and more agile.

He was born to play in Meyer’s spread offense. The Buckeyes want him and the feeling, at times, seemed mutual.

A lot’s happened since then.  

Gibson released a top 15 of potential suitors in May. Ohio State ranked fourth behind Tennessee, Auburn and LSU.

A month later, the Buckeyes curiously dropped to seventh after telling in June communication between him and the school had cooled and an anticipated visit to Columbus was consequently up in the air.

“I haven't been in contact with any of their coaches since I don't know when,” he said.

A lot’s happened since then, too.

After a series of guessing games, Gibson announced he was indeed heading north from South Florida for Friday Night Lights Wednesday: 

But there was one catch: he wasn’t going to camp. He wanted to visit a campus he’d never seen and explore a city he’d never been to.

After all, the Buckeyes had already offered. They think he can be a star. There wasn’t much left to prove.

Later in the day, an old coach from back home got him to change his mind.

“He was like, ‘throw that rock,’” Gibson said. “So I had to come out here and do what I do best.”

Because, despite having offers from just about every major school in the country, an unordinary combination of size and skill has led some to say he’s better off as a wide receiver or some other skill position.

“I’m not an athlete,” Gibson said at The Opening earlier this month. “I’m a quarterback.”

And this, this massive, sparkling spectacle of recruiting warfare, was a chance to prove that in front of Ohio State.

But most of all, it was a chance to rekindle a relationship with Meyer, a man who so carefully curates his quarterbacks, his generals.

“When he saw me, he started jumping up around,” Gibson said.

“He was eating. He stopped eating, and started jumping up around and it was crazy.”

Out of the roughly 200 campers there, Meyer chose to spend his final moments with Gibson before the pair exited the Horseshoe like rockstars hurrying to get back on a tour bus.

The two embraced and parted ways. Now alone with his thoughts and a group of reporters and recruiting analysts -- most of whom he’s never met -- Gibson bashfully bowed his head and flashed a wide and pearly smile that was bright in even the dead of night.

Question: “What stood about seeing Ohio State for the first time?”

“Everything. Coach Urban Meyer,” he said.

“He’s a hyped coach. Everything. He’s just juiced up. Every time I see him.”

It was clear Meyer and this grand night gave Gibson something to think about. And that gave Gibson pause.

On Thursday, he wrote this in a blog through USA TODAY documenting his recruitment:

Tennessee is my leader, but I'm headed to Ohio State tomorrow for the Friday Night Lights Camp; I don't know what'll happen after that as far as who will be in the lead. Just gotta see what happens when I get there. I don't know if there's anything that they can do really; I already really like Ohio State, I think it's just a feeling that I'll get. We'll see.

So what about now?

“A lot of Ohio State fans will be happy after this (next) list I put out,” he said.

“Ohio State fans are going to be really happy.”

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