Small, Gibson Represent OSU At Big 33

Correspondent Eric Thomas filed a report on a pair of Ohio State signees who will be on the field for the Ohio squad in Saturday's Big 33 Football Classic (7 p.m., ONN). Thomas has comments from Cleveland Glenville wide receiver Ray Small and Euclid linebacker Thaddeus Gibson on playing in this game.

They may have taken different routes to Hershey, Pa., but their road to college is the same, and their goals for this weekend are the same as well.

Not to mention they're starting to act like typical college teammates.

If Ohio is to KO Pennsylvania for a fourth straight summer in the Big 33 Football Classic, it may very well be because of receiver Ray Small and defensive terror Thaddeus Gibson.

Small, who is recovering from a groin injury he suffered a couple weeks prior to the Ohio state track and field championships, expects to be close to 100-percent come kickoff Saturday night at 7 p.m. (Ohio News Network).

"It's really nice to come out here and get an early preview of what college is going to be," said Small. "It feels good out here, it feels like a little vacation. I'm out here to represent Ohio and it feels good."

Small, a Cleveland Glenville product, took the ACT last weekend even though he had already been accepted at Ohio State.

"I cleared NCAA (entrance guidelines)," Small said. "But they just wanted me to take it again for approval (at OSU)."

As for the injury Small suffered during track season?

"I'm going to fight through it, everyone has to fight through injuries," he said.

Gibson, a Euclid, Ohio, graduate, will patrol the middle of the field and line up some at defensive end in five-man alignments during the contest.

"I feel this is a great game, I'm psyched. We're ready, we need to get this game done and go on to the big leagues," Gibson said.

Gibson, dubbed "Predator," said he was drawn to the Buckeyes because of their rich tradition at linebacker, the position he will play for Ohio Saturday night and when he gets to Columbus. He expects that with a little hard work, he can contribute immediately.

"I'm just going to work hard, stay focused and practice hard every day," he said. "Hopefully my play will show the coaches that I am ready to step out there right away.

"We have a great recruiting class," Gibson added. "Ray and Bryant (Browning) are great guys. It couldn't get any better, I couldn't be any more blessed than to be in this position."

Gibson will draw the tougher of the two players Saturday going against the likes of Pennsylvania lineman Jared Odrick and the recently added Jason Kates, who are headed to Penn State and Michigan, respectively.

Small will work against speedy Pennsylvania cornerback Aaron Berry who is equal in height, weight and ability, creating an interesting one-on-one match-up.

"I'm not downplaying those guys at all, but look where we're going (to college)," Gibson added.

Gibson and Small are two of the fastest Ohio players in Hershey this week and both expect to be able to display their natural ability on the A-Turf at Hersheypark Stadium.

"I think speed will make the difference in this game," Gibson said. "Whichever team plays the hardest, works the hardest, but speed and it's my strength in this game."

It is funny Gibson mentions speed. It's that trait that has done in Pennsylvania the last three years in a row. Something has to give.

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