It was only 2 days ago on his weekly radio show that head coach Jerry Kill made the point to the assembled crowd at Joe Sensor's in Roseville about the need to add more athleticism and depth at the tight end and wide receiver positions.
Jerry, it turns out, is a bit of a soothsayer:
Theodore (AL) athlete prospect Jerry Gibson committed to Minnesota today, becoming the 10th member of the Gophers' 2014 recruiting class and maybe the most athletically versatile prospect of the bunch. Gibson plays halfback and defensive end as a prep, though he could project anywhere from WR, TE, H-Back, fullback, DE or linebacker at the next level.
Gibson is rated as a 3 star prospect according to 247Sports' Industry Composite, with listed offers from Northern Illinois, Arkansas State, Troy, Louisiana-Lafayette and several other FBS schools in addition to Minnesota.
Gopher247's Kyle Goblirsch with a quick commitment article ($):
As an Athlete, Gibson can help at multiple positions; from TE, H-back, RB, OLB or even DE. But as of now he feels he will be on the offensive side of things. "I'll most likely be playing TE, but can help out wherever" Gibson says on a position.
ESPNU evaluation ($):
Gibson has the height, athleticism, strength and playing speed for the tight end / "H" position at the BCS level of play; will need to add bulk over time while it appears his frame is capable of supporting added weight. This prospect does a good matching his playing strength with defensive ends when single blocking. We like his quickness when releasing off the line and in space. ... From a three point stance we see the initial quickness and smooth running stride which allows him to put immediate pressure on defensive backs when running deep seam routes; his foot quickness, elusiveness along with a smooth stride allows him to rip off big chunks of yardage after the catch.
(Likely Fraudulent) Measurables
Weight: 215 lbs.
Fake 40 time: 4.83
Senior year, via Hudl.
Just when you thought the Gophers had more than enough tight end commitments with Wayzata's Brandon Lindgen and Somerset's Gaelin Elmore, ole Coach Kill and Jay Sawvel dip into Alabama to pick up another highly versatile prospect who'll get a look on offense to start out his collegiate career.
Color me intrigued.
As a prospect, Gibson looks to have very good feet and better than decent speed for a "big" athlete type prospect. His longer frame should allow him to add bulk rather easily and he appears to play with some toughness. At tight end, H-back or fullback, Gibson would compliment Maxx Williams with his playmaking ability and athleticism. He'll most certainly need to get a little stronger to in Coach Klein's S&C program to handle blocking B1G defensive ends one-on-one, though you could say that about every recruit playing on the line of scrimmage.
Gibson is yet another example of Kill and this staff knowing exactly what to look for when recruiting players for their offensive scheme. The Northern Illinois offer is a definitive tell about the type of prospect Gibson is and how programs that share the same DNA desire those specific attributes, regardless of position. Speaking to that, my assumption is Gibson is under-recruited relative to his skill set because he's a tweener playing the wrong position at a very small school. None of that matters, since Kill has made a career out of turning athletic tweeners into strong contributors along each stop of his coaching path.
What I'm more interested in, however, is what Gibson's commitment means to our existing TE commitments. Lindgen is most assuredly staying at tight end since he's a pure blocker, much like Lincoln Plsek. Elmore is also an exceptional blocker and the athleticism to hurt teams on routes, though his best position may be defensive end. With the commitment of Julien Kafo earlier this week, subtly convincing Elmore to play DE would give the Gophers 2 huge incoming ends, something they don't currently have but need in order to keep up with larger Big Ten offensive lines.
Still, Kill could be looking both short and long term here. As an early enrollee candidate, Elmore is the TE recruit most likely to earn PT next year. With Drew Goodger graduating in 2014, the staff will need a dependable, traditional style tight end that it can count on. Gibson will likely need time to develop, as will Lindgen; Jerry Gibson may eventually slot into the athletic tight end threat behind Maxx. Another player who belongs in the discussion is Nate Wozniak, the 6'9" monster Kill signed last year and current redshirt.