Gibson improved on the 4.72 second 40-yard dash time he laid down at Lucas Oil Stadium with between a 4.51 and 4.57 on the familiar turf at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. While most of the former Buckeyes who participated and met with the media afterward were happy with their performances, almost to a man they raved about Gibson.
"Thaddeus looked good," fellow defensive lineman Robert Rose said. "Thaddeus always looks good."
Gibson himself was pleased with efforts. In addition to his faster 40 time, Gibson did the long shuttle run, participated in both linebacker and defensive end drills and spoke to representatives of several NFL teams. The Euclid, Ohio, native is hoping to prove that he can play in either a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker or in a 4-3 defense as a defensive end. He said his increased 40 time can only help show NFL teams he can play wherever he's needed.
"Whatever it is they want me to do, I'll do it," Gibson said. "Punting the ball, kicking the ball, catching the ball. I'm ready to go."
Like for most players at Pro Day, Gibson's numbers improved, and he credited the familiarity of home for his success. He dressed in his usual locker with teammates he's known for years and ran on a field he's practiced on hundreds of times.
"I think the biggest thing is just that you're at home here," Gibson said. "You have your boys here, you have your coaching staff here, guys you've been around for four years. It's a different environment at the combine. You have a lot of eyes on you, but not familiar eyes."
Gibson capped his OSU career after a season in which he recorded 45 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, with four sacks, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and an interception. He was the lone Buckeye junior to declare for the NFL draft.
Gibson's decision to leave helped motivate him to do his best to prove to everyone that he made the right decision.
"Giving that year up to go pro is a big step in your life and a big decision you have to make," he said. "When you do it you just want to be confident and know whatever decision you make is the best decision for you. I just have to out and compete and show what I can do."
Most draft experts have Gibson projected as a second- or third-round selection, but it is still possible for the 6-2, 243-pounder to sneak into the first round. Gibson was spied with a representative of the Pittsburgh Steelers following his meeting with the media. The pair were going over a diagram of a play on a dry-erase board.
The Steelers have the No. 18 overall pick in the draft, but Gibson is not going to worry about whether he can slide into the first round, however.
"I would hope so, but I won't know until April 22," said Gibson, who also mentioned speaking with the defending Super Bowl champion Saints. "Up until that point, I've just got to continue working and keep dreaming."
Until then Gibson will continue to work out and take classes. He is scheduled to graduate in June after the spring quarter with a degree in African-American studies.