Go down the list of what college coaches want from high school offensive line prospects. Rockhurst offensive lineman Joe Gibson can check them off for you.
Gibson has the size. At 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, he’s big. And the senior guard looks even larger than that on the field.
He’s got the nasty disposition. A two-year starter for the Hawklets, he plays with the aggressiveness that recruiters love to see from a prospect.
“He’s got the switch,” his father, Paul Gibson says with a smile.
“We always talk about having that switch,” Joe Gibson says with a grin that’s kind of scary. “You have to be able to turn it off and on once the game starts. I guess I have that switch.”
“I can be all fun and games outside of football, but when its game time, I get serious. I get mean.”
“I love any play I get to pull on, that gives me the chance to use my size and speed to my advantage,” he says, his grin getting nasty. “Find some poor little corner or safety, and knock the stuff out of them.”
He’s a leader of one of the top programs in the Midwest. A two-year starter for the Hawklets, Head Coach Tony Severino calls Gibson “the best football player on our team.”
He’s got the size. He’s got the nasty. He’s a leader, and he’s got the endorsement of his head coach. What’s missing?
He hasn’t played for it all in the state of Missouri. Yet.
“Really, winning a state championship is all that I care about,” he says, shaking his head. “It means so much to me, since I was part of that state championship team in 2010. I didn’t play, but I was a varsity player as a sophomore.”
“To win it your senior year with your teammates would be a really cool experience.”
Gibson knows exactly how he wants to check that one off the list. “Playing Jefferson City in the state championship and beating them.”
The biggest thing Gibson is missing is a scholarship offer. He’s working on that, too. Hard.
“Just getting a chance to play football at the Division I level…” he trails off. “Most everyone has said center so far. I’ve never really snapped, but I’ve been told I’m athletic enough to do it.”
“I get letters every day from Iowa. I’ve been talking to the coach that recruits the Kansas City area. I got a game invitation over the summer, but I haven’t been able to make any of the dates.”
In addition to the Hawkeyes, he’s heard from Nebraska, Georgetown, and Pennsylvania.
“I went to Nebraska camp this summer, and I’ve talked to them since then,” he says. “I get letters once or twice a week.”
“Georgetown sent me five handwritten letters,” he says, curious about what the Hoyas have to offer. “A week ago, I got a folder with like ten of them in it. We are talking about visiting.”
“Penn told me that if I can get into school, I could possibly have a scholarship to play. I visited over the summer, and I really enjoyed the town. It’s a great place.”
Kansas is high on the list for Gibson, and he’s been there several times.
“I’ve been to Lawrence three or four times since last year. I went to the first game, and I’m going to the Iowa State game.”
Gibson camped at KU each of the past two summers. According to him, there’s been a lot of progress since the hiring of Charlie Weis.
“I went to the camp last summer, and I went a year ago with the old staff,” he says. “Just with the camp, I can see an improvement in the way things are run. Coach Weis is doing a great job. He has really high expectations for the program.”
The standout Hawklet worked with offensive line coach Tim Grunhard, and came away impressed with the first-year assistant.
“He taught us all of their techniques in camp,” he says, his excitement evident. “The run blocking and everything, It was a little different from what I’m used to.”
“I’ve always been a KU fan,” Gibson says with a big smile. “It’s a place I’ve always loved, and it’s close to home. Kansas is the perfect scenario.”