PROFILE: Justan Gibson

Shreveport (La.) Byrd has one of the top running backs in the state for 2007 and if everything goes as planned Yellow Jackets head coach Mike Suggs will be entertaining more than his fair share of coaches this spring.

Justan Gibson, a 6-foot, 205-pounder with 4.5 speed, was the belle cow in Byrd's Wing-T offense in 2005. He carried the ball 241 times for 1,744 yards and 21 touchdowns which earned him first team all-state honors according to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

When Gibson is not on the field he is usually in the weight room fine tuning his stout frame. Just take a look at what he did a few weeks back when his coach put his squad through a series of strength of tests and the results even surprised Suggs.

"He benched 295 pounds, he was able to hang clean 295 too and he squatted 635," Suggs said.

There are plenty of clichés coaches use to describe athletes but one of the most commonly used is fitting when it comes to describing Gibson's abilities.

"He has a great combination of it all," said Suggs. "He has size, strength and speed. He is just so big and strong with speed to go with it."

Although Gibson plays fullback in Suggs' offense which is where the best back almost always play in a Wing-T offense, do not assume that he is just an inside runner that will bull you over.

"He very rarely, if I can ever remember at all, that he got in the secondary and then got caught from behind," Suggs said. "He runs tough between the tackles but we like to get him on the outside too so he can use that speed."

Suggs said Gibson has not picked up any offers to date but that he is getting letters from all over and most of the SEC schools have called to inquire on his talent.

The LSU staff wants to get Gibson down for a camp to evaluate him a little more and there has already been talk of the Tigers making a stop by Byrd this spring to see him in action.

Suggs has seen his share of Division-I type running backs over the years and he thinks his star runner has the potential to play at the major level.

"I think he has the type of potential to play in a conference like the SEC and the Big 12," Suggs said. "He has to keep working but he has that potential."

Suggs was also very excited about his place kicker David Hankins who is also getting interest from some big-time programs.

"David has the ability to kick for anybody," said Suggs. "Some schools ay not need a kicker because they signed one last year but I think David can go somewhere big too. He has a strong leg and he is accurate. He is big at 6-2 and 195 pounds with a lot of leg strength."

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