Gibson Highlights Strong Finish

Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage four-star quarterback Torrance Gibson looked around in January but ultimately stayed with his Ohio State verbal commitment.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and his staff closed strong on National Signing Day, securing five commitments from players that the coach said he was unsure about the night before. That capped off a strong, 27-member class. While everything ended up working out for the Buckeyes, it wasn't always easy.

The embodiment of that may be Torrance Gibson. The four-star quarterback out of Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage committed to Ohio State in early November but went on official visits to Auburn, LSU and Miami (Fla.) on consecutive weekends in January. That made National Signing Day a bit more nerve-racking for OSU coaches.

"It was fun," wide receiver coach and Gibson's lead recruiter Zach Smith said of the quarterback's recruitment. "Torrance, he initially fell in love with Ohio State and then felt like he needed to explore the world before he got married. At the end, this is the place that he wanted to be.”

Gibson is the No. 52 overall player in the 2015 class, making him the top-ranked recruit that Ohio State signed this year. He is an elite athlete, certainly one of the best in the country, which led some to suggest he would be better suited at wide receiver or even corner.

“He would get worn out with it relentlessly (from other schools) that we were going to move him to wideout," Smith said. "We talked about it a lot but it was more he just needed reassurance like, ‘Hey, we’re good right?’ It was never more than about a five minute conversation.”

Smith said that Gibson is certainly going to be a quarterback at Ohio State and it seems a good match as the Buckeyes offense functions best when the best athlete is at quarterback (see Miller, Braxton). When pressed on whether Gibson could be valuable in certain packages as a freshman, Smith said that if that's the case, it will be a package featuring the freshman at quarterback.

"I think he's a special player with the ball in his hand, there's no question about it," co-offensive coordinator Tim Beck said of Gibson. "And again, some of the things I talked about, winning, he's able to make the players around look better. He's able to move the offense. Like all quarterbacks, even the guys that we have here, there's still some mechanical things or technique things or knowledge things that they still have to pick up in order to function at the highest level that they can."

While Gibson's ability to play a position aside from quarterback complicated his recruitment, so did the Buckeyes depth at the position. With Gibson and Athens quarterback Joey Burrows joining the 2015 class, Ohio State will have six scholarship quarterbacks on the 2015 roster.

Three of those players -- Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones -- have all been immensely productive as Buckeyes and were each given better than 20-to-1 odds of winning the Heisman Trophy next season.

"The thing I asked Torrance is, don't penalize us because our guys play real well," Meyer said. "Everybody has three or four quarterbacks, if you don't you're struggling. Our three or four happen to play really well. Don't hold that against us. Come and compete for the spot."

Gibson elected to do just that, but not before testing the waters at other schools, something that maybe should have been expected from a player so far removed from Ohio. Smith said that he was fine with Gibson making official visits in January because he was confident that nowhere the quarterback went would match up to Ohio State.

Apparently it didn't, as Gibson joined 26 other future Buckeyes in inking their national letters of intent Wednesday. It may have been a rocky recruitment at times, but as it has for the past year, when it came to Gibson, everything worked out in Ohio State's favor.

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