Back in February, California went all the way out to Mississippi to unearth an offensive lineman that fit the tone and academic rigor of the program and the school. They found that lineman in Ryan Gibson.
On Tuesday, the 6-foot-3, 270-pound center – the No. 12 center in the nation – visited Berkeley for the first time.
"It was pretty amazing," Gibson said. "It was beautiful, up on the hill, and the facilities are brand new and awesome. It was a great trip."
Born in San Diego, this wasn't Gibson's first time in the Golden State, but it was his first time in Northern California.
Gibson brought along his grandfather on the first leg of his West Coast swing, which will see him visit rival Stanford on Wednesday. On Friday, he will fly across the country to visit Virginia.
"Why Berkeley appealed to me in the first place was the academic prestige of the school, and it was pretty amazing," Gibson said. "I got to tour the athletic buildings, but I didn't get to go into any classes. I did get to go into the player academic meeting. It showed that it's not going to be easy, going to Cal and playing football, but it'll be worth it in the end."
Gibson has a 4.1 GPA at Bay St. Louis (Miss.) St. Stanislaus, but humbly said he didn't think he could get into Cal solely on his academic resume.
"I don't think I would get into Cal without football, but that's why I have to use it to my advantage," Gibson said.
Gibson spent nearly 10 hours on campus, but said his favorite part was speaking with the coaching staff.
"The coaching staff appealed to me a lot," Gibson said. "They're the kind of coaches I'd like to play for. The facilities, what they're doing with the program and first and foremost, you walk on campus, and you can feel the academic atmosphere. You see why it's a world-renowned university."
Another big highlight was Gibson's visit to the Main Stacks.
"I think they have the second-biggest library system in North America, behind the Library of Congress, I believe, so it was pretty amazing," Gibson said. "They have like 33 libraries at the University, so it was pretty amazing to think about how many books are there. It was pretty amazing."
On the football side of things, Gibson also got to sit in on an offensive line meeting with Zach Yenser and his charges.
"We did a facility tour first, and then we did a campus tour, and then we had lunch and then I met all of the coaches," Gibson said. "I got to eat dinner with all the players, where they all eat dinner, and I actually ate dinner with the head coach – coach Dykes – and I like him a lot. Then, I sat in on the O-line meeting. It was a good visit."
The visit strengthened the Bears' position greatly with Gibson, who has offers from 13 other programs.
"It was different than what I expected, but in a good way," Gibson said. "I guess it did strengthen my thoughts about them. I kind of expected more of a city atmosphere, but when I stepped on campus, it was a campus. It just felt like an actual college campus. I thought it was in the city, in San Fran, kind of, but that was a plus. I didn't realize it was going to be so beautiful, actually. There are multiple places on campus where you can actually see the Golden Gate Bridge. It's pretty cool. It strengthened my view on them, for sure."
Gibson Starts West Coast Swing in Berkeley
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