When a reporter brought up Torrance Gibson at Urban Meyer's season-ending press conference, the coach's lips slipped into a tight smirk. He crossed his arms and shifted his stance briefly, then spoke about something that had nothing to do with what the former five-star recruit can do on the football field.
"I didn't know you guys talked to him, that's great. Torrance had a 2.7 GPA. Worked his rear end off at a highly competitive university," Meyer said Jan. 7. "I'd say mid-stroke, mid-September-ish is when he really grew up.
"I love Torrance Gibson. I love his talent."
Meyer referred to a brief conversation the dynamic athlete had with the media shortly after Ohio State's 44-28 Fiesta Bowl victory against Notre Dame New Year's Day at University of Phoenix Stadium. It was the first time Gibson spoke with reporters since the team's schedule media day more than five months earlier, when then the story was how he approached his head coach with the idea to change positions so he could play a role in 2015.
An ankle injury put his transition to wide receiver on hold, before Gibson's self-admitted immaturity knocked his chances from playing this past season down from minimal to zero. He quit going to class and grew homesick for the Florida sunshine, and Meyer took away his privilege to dress a few times on Saturday afternoons with the rest of his teammates.
"I took it all for a joke," Gibson said then.
He's bought back in, however, is healthy and anxious to help the Buckeyes in 2016 after a redshirt season.
"It was hard to bounce back, because the ankle was really in a lot of pain," Gibson said. "But I overcame it and I'll be healthy. I'll be good."
“The fact that he did well academically, I think it’s a future without, I use this comment sometimes: I don't see a ceiling. I'd like to use him at quarterback-slash, because he's that good of an athlete. This spring is going to be big.”– Urban Meyer on Torrance Gibson
But where will he play? Gibson is an incredible athlete who set all kinds of records as a quarterback at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida. The Buckeyes are set at that position for at least one, if not two, more years with J.T. Barrett ready to lead the charge in 2016.
So does Gibson stay at wide receiver? Or does he move back to quarterback?
"The fact that he did well academically, I think it’s a future without, I use this comment sometimes: I don't see a ceiling," Meyer said. "I'd like to use him at quarterback-slash, because he's that good of an athlete. This spring is going to be big."
"Quarterback-slash" could mean any number of things. Meyer might ask Gibson to take snaps at quarterback and throw to Barrett out wide who would then throw downfield to someone else, or vice versa. He could just be a wildcat quarterback like Braxton Miller was in 2015, only with a non-surgically repaired throwing shoulder.
The possibilities are endless, as long as Gibson stays healthy and keeps his head on straight.
"I made some strides. Michael Thomas, Jalin Marshall, those guys have been teaching me a lot about being a receiver," Gibson said. "Receiver just came naturally to me. I just played it a few times in 7-on-7s, so I was just used to it."
Gibson will always see himself as a quarterback—"Maybe a wildcat quarterback, something like that. You never know," he said—but that's not what the Buckeyes need in 2015. Thomas, Marshall, Miller and others are gone. There are yards to be had on the outside in the passing game.
His outstanding size—listed at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds—and speed could make him a downfield threat if he hones the route running part of his game and puts his heart fully into being a receiver. Barrett's backup at quarterback is undetermined between Stephen Collier and Joe Burrow, plus the Buckeyes have a verbal commitment from four-star Dwayne Haskins Jr.
Gibson's future isn't known, but Meyer knows he needs to get the exceptional athlete on the field soon.
"His maturity level from the day he walked onto this campus to now, I can't be more proud of what that guy did," Meyer said. "Very mature compared to where he was."