Just on pure athletic ability alone, Thaddeus Gibson of Euclid High School has to be rated right at the very top of the 2006 recruiting class in Ohio. At 6-3, 220 pounds and growing, Gibson, ranked as the state's third best prospect by Ohio High Magazine, is blessed with the kind of physical potential that has attracted major interest from schools all over the Midwest and points as far as Southern California.
"Everything is going great right now. I just got back from USC, I went down there for a two-day camp," Gibson said. "I've been getting a tremendous amount of mail and I take time out of every day to read it. And basically I'm just taking things day-by-day."
Gibson simply got some mail from USC asking him to attend their camp and he took them up on their invitation.
"My dad thought it would nice to send me out there and see what California is like," he said. "It was nice and all but I think California is a little bit too far away for me. Everything else was cool. I met with Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart and it was real nice and I enjoyed myself a lot. I got to go around the town and see the campus and things like that. It was a good experience but I don't think I could see myself staying out there though."
For the most part, Gibson thought that he performed pretty well when he was at USC's camp.
"I think I did real well. I had a few interceptions and I covered the tight end really well," he said. "I think I did pretty good."
He happened to be nursing a pulled muscle in his hamstring while he was at the camp but Gibson still put forth his best effort.
"They really didn't even want me to run but I wanted to run anyway," he said. "I ran a 4.6 (-second 40-yard dash) so that wasn't too bad with my hamstring being messed up. And my vertical jump was 33 inches."
USC obviously has some interest in him and vice versa, but Gibson, who didn't leave Southern California with a scholarship offer, pretty much said that they might not quite be his cup of tea.
"I think it's great that I'm getting recruited by those guys but I just take it day-by-day," Gibson said. "When I received the letter from them for the first time it was like ‘Wow, USC, national champs, wanting me to come to their camp. Man!'
"But I don't know about USC though. I'm not saying it's a bad school or anything like that but you want to be comfortable where you're at. You do have to live there outside of football."
Gibson currently claims offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, West Virginia, Purdue, North Carolina and a few others. With the new season approaching quickly, Gibson would like to narrow that list down to a more manageable number very soon.
"Eventually I want to take my visits in the fall toward the end of my season," he said. "As it looks right now I'll probably visit Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin and North Carolina. I like Iowa too. And Miami."
But right now Gibson is working really hard on his academic situation in order to keep all of those options open for him.
"I'm in summer school right now and I'm handling my business in that class," said Gibson who admitted that he still has some work to do on his ACT test. "I'm really focusing strong on my academics now. That's my number one priority to get my grades up and that shouldn't be a problem at all."
Everything else seems to be in order for Gibson. He's been working on his leadership skills a whole lot already as his team has been going through their summer drills.
"With it being my senior year, I want to be the role model for the whole team and be the first to do whatever the coaches ask of us," he said. "Right now I'm just trying to spread the love around the team and make sure everybody is on the same page. But I can't wait. I really can't wait to put some pads on. I really can't."
Gibson won't come out and directly name his favorite school as he prepares for his senior season but clearly it seems as if Ohio State is the odds-on-favorite to win his services at this time.
"They're definitely going to be in the running," Gibson said. "I love Ohio State and that's where the majority of my family wants me to go so they can come down and see me play. And one of my best friends Brandon Smith is down there as well."
Gibson will participate with his team at a four-day camp at Baldwin Wallace College beginning on July 18 before two-a-day practices begin in August in preparation for Euclid's Friday night opener against Mentor Lake Catholic.