2015 Target: Jay Gibbs

MATTHEWS, N.C. --- North Carolina was the school that Jay Gibbs, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound linebacker from David Butler High School, dreamed of attending growing up.

Scouting Report

"First of all, he's probably the most coachable kid I've been around – from his attitude to work ethic to his desire to learn and ask questions," Butler head coach Brian Hales said. "Our linebacker coach right from the get-go raved about him.

"And then from an athletic standpoint, there's so much to him. There's so much to like about him – obviously his physical attitudes: his length, his size, his frame. And then how fast he's progressed in such a short period of time from the first time we took him out to run 40s with us – I think he got about 25 yards and fell on his face – to the point he was at this year. He was our second or third leading tackler. There's so much he can do."

Prep Career

Butler has created a habit of developing FBS linebackers. Isaac Stewart signed with Louisville in February, while Peter Kalambayi (Stanford), Sean Wiggins (Ball State), and Kris Frost (Auburn) are currently on FBS rosters.

"The tradition raises my expectations for myself," Gibbs said. "I know that we've put a bunch of players into a lot of good colleges. I know I'll just have to work as hard as they did so I can actually get to that level. I actually still talk to Peter a lot about the linebacker position."

A negative byproduct of Butler's tradition is the lack of playing time it allows for younger players. Regardless, Gibbs, whose focus has been basketball, didn't even become a part of Butler's football program until Hales asked him to try out for the team last offseason.

"Last year he was a junior in class, but really he's a freshman out there," Hales said. "He didn't really play since he was in middle school. So much of what he did last year he was just learning on the fly. I don't really think there's a comparison right now [with previous Butler linebackers], but in terms of what he can become, he can be up there with the rest of those guys."

In his first season playing football, Gibbs earned a starting spot at linebacker. He ended that season with 110 tackles, including ten tackles for loss and four sacks.


Gibbs's limited experience has curbed the amount of recruiting attention he has received. One of the schools expressing the most interest, though, is North Carolina.

"I know they think very highly of him, because they recognize No. 1 his raw ability" Hales said. "It's pretty obvious to see that his upside is huge. You watch our film from the first game and watch it sequentially to the last game and you see marked improvement every week [from Gibbs]."

Gibbs is also receiving significant interest from Charlotte, Cincinnati, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, N.C. State, and Penn State.

"Ball State called me and told me that they were going to offer, but they haven't told me that they have offered just yet," Hales said. "Florida State invited him down to their junior day last week and he went down. Penn State, before the staff change, they came down and were really interested. "

Prior to FSU's Junior Day, Gibbs attended UNC's Junior Day in January.

"I liked it a lot," Gibbs said. "I liked the way they actually talked to me, introduced me to the position coach, explained the history of North Carolina, and what they're trying to do there. I like the head coach a lot there, too. I just like Carolina, period."

Shortly after he arrived on campus, Gibbs spoke with Ron West, UNC's linebackers coach.

"We talked a lot about how my year has been going," Gibbs said. "What the linebacker position does there and what they do there. He talked to me about classes there and how practices are there."

Between his trips to UNC and Florida State, Georgia Tech asked Gibbs to visit their campus. However, he was unable to make that trip.

Last fall, Gibbs attended football games at UNC and N.C. State.

"I like Kenan Stadium, it's beautiful," Gibbs said. "The atmosphere was nice, also."

With so much uncertainty surrounding his recruitment, Gibbs is reluctant to name a leader. However, he admits UNC has an unmatched advantage.

"It makes me really happy that the school I wanted to go to growing up is recruiting me," Gibbs said. "It doesn't necessarily [put it in the lead]. I mean, it's the school I liked growing up. But I have to look at other colleges and what they provide for me, too."

Extra Notes

Gibbs has started at forward on Butler's basketball team the past couple years… Gibbs and his entire family are UNC fans.

Jay Gibbs Profile

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