Gibson Selects Ohio State

He was expected to commit to Ohio State for months, but you never know how things are going to turn out in the world of recruiting. But on Monday, Euclid linebacker Thaddeus Gibson made it official: He will be a Buckeye. We caught up with him for his thoughts on selecting OSU and what he is looking forward to about his college career.

Euclid linebacker Thaddeus Gibson became the 19th member of Ohio State's 2006 recruiting class on Monday.

"I called (head coach Jim) Tressel this morning to tell him, but he wasn't there and I left a voice mail for him," Gibson told "He's supposed to call me back this afternoon. I talked to (co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Luke) Fickell though. He was excited."

Gibson (6-2, 212, 4.5) is ranked as the No. 2 player in the state by Ohio High. He is the No. 9 linebacker nationally by, and the No. 58 player overall nationally.

Gibson was considered a heavy OSU lean for months. He explained why he chose the Buckeyes.

"It's a great atmosphere," he said. "When I went down on my visit (Jan. 13), I fell in love with the place. From my big brother, Brandon Smith, who I played with my sophomore year (at Euclid), to Teddy (Ginn) and the rest of those guys, I felt really at home."

Smith is a rising sophomore tight end at OSU. He and Gibson have been close for years.

"Yeah, that played a big role in it," Gibson said. "When I played with him here, he was always on my tail about practicing hard and getting better and things like that. I feel that he can really show me the ropes down there as well."

Gibson also considered Tennessee and Michigan. He says the decision ended up being tougher than he imagined.

"Well, actually, when Ohio State first offered me I wanted to commit then and there," he said. "But then I decided to see who all was going to recruit me. And to be honest with you, Tennessee came on real strong and it came down to Ohio State and Tennessee. I sat down with my coach and my family the other night and we talked about if I suffered a harsh injury, where would I feel most comfortable at not playing football. And it was a no-brainer: Ohio State was the place."

Ohio State now has verbal commitments from four of the top five prospects in the state according to Ohio High: No. 1 Chris Wells, Gibson, No. 4 Connor Smith and No. 5 Ross Homan. Only No. 3 Aaron Brown decided to go elsewhere (Virginia Tech).

"Oh, our class is shaping up real well," Gibson said. "Actually, two weeks ago, me, Chris Wells, Rob Rose and Ray Small all got together and we all said Ohio State was a good move, let's go there and do some things. We're all psyched-up about it."

Gibson will be a weakside linebacker at OSU, the position being vacated by A.J. Hawk.

"Pretty much to make sure that quarterback doesn't get out of that pocket, and occasionally dropping back in coverage and things like that," Gibson said of the responsibilities of playing the Will position.

When asked to name his strengths as a linebacker, Gibson said: "I'd have to say my speed."

When asked to reveal any weaknesses, he replied: "Well, I can get better. I wouldn't say I have many weaknesses."

Gibson says playing for Tressel was a major factor in his decision to select OSU.

"Oh man, he's a great guy," Gibson said. "When I went down on my visit I sat down with him in his office and he was really straight-up and forward with me with everything he asked me. He had a notepad and every question that he asked me, he wrote my answer down. And at the end of our talk, he said everything back to me. I just felt real comfortable with the guy. I think he's a great person and I can't wait to play for him."

Gibson had to be patient during the recruiting process. He's a smart kid with a 2.7 core GPA, but his test scores were a concern. But all indications are that Gibson will be cleared by OSU admissions.

And now that he's made his decision, he's happy he won't have to take calls from coaches and reporters at all hours.

"Well, I'd say these last couple weeks have been a little hectic, getting phone calls at 12:30 at night, cell phone ringing off the hook, text messages and things like that," Gibson said. "But overall, I guess it was OK. Now I'm set, ready to go."

Ohio State is losing all three starting linebackers. Gibson was asked if receiving immediate playing time is one of his goals for his freshman season.

"Well, I wouldn't mind, but not really," he said. "I just want to get in the groove, get better and earn a spot."

Gibson will represent Ohio in the Big 33 Classic in Hershey, Pa., this summer.

"I am looking forward to playing in that game and enjoying myself and having a good time," he said.

Gibson is also a star basketball player at Euclid and averages 15 points per game.

"Oh, (basketball season is) going real well. We're No. 1 in our area and it's going to stay that way," he said.

On the football field as a senior, Gibson led Euclid to a 7-3 record. He had 56 tackles and 11 sacks, despite the fact that offenses did not usually challenge him.

"I had to work hard for everything I did out there," he said. "Every play, every game, teams were running away from me. So, it was rough, but I handled my business though."

Gibson watched OSU's 34-20 victory over Notre Dame in the Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl and came away impressed with his future teammates.

"Oh man, that was excellent. I liked it a lot," he said.

Some are predicting that the Buckeyes could open the season ranked No. 1 in the country. Gibson has no problem with high expectations.

"Oh yeah, we're going to be tough," he said. "I'm ready to go. Ready to get settled in and get going."

Gibson is the sixth national top-100 player to verbal for OSU. He joins Wells (No. 1 overall), Connor Smith (30), Rose (52), Mark Johnson (74) and Ross Homan (86). Small (rated 98th) would give OSU seven top-100 players.

Only USC (11 top-100 verbals) and Florida (eight) have more top-100 commitments than Ohio State.

Click the link below to go to Thaddeus Gibson's database page. There is a link from there of video highlights.

Thaddeus Gibson database page (with link to video)

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