Mississippi All-State Player To Visit Tigers

The final visit weekend before national signing day will include an All-State prospect from the Magnolia State.

Mooreville, Miss.--Tommy Tuberville said last fall that the Tigers were looking to sign a punter for the 2002 class. Auburn is scheduled to have an official visitor this weekend who could be receiving a scholarship from the Auburn coach to handle those chores this coming season or after Damon Duval graduates.

Michael Gibson, a 6-2, 195-pounder from Mooreville High School, is a two-time All-State punter who averaged 46.5 yards per punt as a senior and 44.7 as a junior.

His coach, Michael Bradley, says that the punter has a great leg and has been a quick learner. "He never punted or played football until his junior year," he says. "He has a talent for punting a spiral everytime and his punts have great hang time. He won two games for us this past season just because he did such a great job keeping opponents pinned back deep."

Gibson also kicks off and kicks field goals, but isn't as accomplished in that aspect of kicking. "He has a strong leg and kicked off into the end zone 60 percent of the time," his coach notes. "His longest in a game was 45 yards last year. He showed he can kick under pressure. He hit one with 27 seconds as a junior to win a playoff game for us."

Bradley says that Gibson is a strong student and a good person. "He has great character and is the type of young man colleges are looking for in their programs," he says. "He is a hard worker. He is out there on the field practicing everyday at school and on Sundays he is out there kicking with his father. He is a great Christian kid."

Tiger Ticket Extra:The coach says he has been trying to get Ole Miss and Mississippi State interested in signing the punter, but they haven't been interested. State has a verbal commitment from a kicker, Scott Shurden of Philadelphia, Miss., High. "I know Coach Tuberville never signed a kicker or punter when he was at Ole Miss, but he did sign one at Auburn (Philip Yost) and I think he really understands how important the kicking game is in the SEC. I think Auburn won three games at the end on field goals last season."...Gibson also plays baseball. He batted cleanup as a junior on Mooreville's state championship team...Gibson started at quarterback for the final four games of the regular season his season year and Mooreville won all four during a 7-4 season. "He did a great job for us at quarterback," Bradley says. Mooreville lost in the opening round of the playoffs in overtime...Tuberville has mentioned that he would prefer to have a separate punter and kicker although Duval handled both chores admirably as a redshirt junior in 2001. If Gibson does sign with AU, it wouldn't be a big surprise to see him take a redshirt season if Duval is on top of his game as a punter in 2002.

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