It didn't take junior Reilly Gibbons (St. Petersburg, Fla./Catholic) long to realize that his head coach was right. In the spring he wanted to move Gibbons from tight end to offensive tackle. Over a dozen scholarship offers later, with plenty of more on the way, Gibbons isn't looking back.
"Honestly, I embraced it from the beginning," Gibbons said. "It happened back in the spring. I immediately switched my practice jersey to No. 75. And I realized I was a glorified tackle last season."
Gibbons was a 240-pound tight end as a sophomore. The Barons didn't have to throw the ball all that much because they have one of the nation's very best running backs on their roster in Ryan Green (Florida State commitment).
"We changed offenses this spring because we do have a great running back in Ryan," Gibbons said. "It's a modified wing that he calls a ‘Mesh'. It's a lot of motion and running to the outside. He needed someone to seal the edge. That would be me."
You can say that it's been a fairly smooth and easy transition for Gibbons.
"I was always the big, blocking TE," Gibbons said. "So this was natural for me. I am left handed and I play left tackle. It's the blind side. The move hasn't been that hard. I just need that proper mindset and skill and it will all come."
It didn't take long for college programs to take notice. Tennessee was the first to offer back in the spring. In all, Gibbons says he has 16. That includes Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern, Purdue (most recent offer), Rutgers, South Florida, and UCF.
"It's been great, as I have 16 offers from around the nation," Gibbons said. "It's been a great process and my family is very involved and we have made a lot of trips. So far I have seen USC, Stanford, Duke, South Carolina and all the Florida schools. I have also been to Notre Dame a few times as well as Vanderbilt and Tennessee."
Teams like Florida State, Florida, Miami, USC, Notre Dame and many other big name schools have yet to offer Gibbons. But that could all change over the next few weeks.
"Those schools have just said that they want to see what I do my first three of four games," Gibbons said. "They want to see some good tape of me going after it. That's exactly what I plan to give them."
Gibbons, now 260-pounds, has a pretty good idea of what he's looking for in a college. While he has a good head start on the recruiting process, he knows he still has a ways to go.
"I really am open and just have taken a step back," Gibbons said. "I have always been looking for a mixture of academics and great football. I am also looking for that family atmosphere."