Bloodlines account for something.
Few programs across the country proved as much in recent years more than the Tennessee Volunteers.
Over half a dozen sons of former Vols now pull orange and white uniforms over their pads, proudly following in their fathers’ footsteps.
The nephew of one of the greatest Vols of the ‘90s may be the country’s best football prospect in the Class of 2017.
DeAngelo Gibbs received a scholarship offer from the Big Orange in Spring 2014. It’s been full steam ahead ever since.
The Scout five-star prospect made his way to Knoxville for an invite-only junior day early this March, gaining an eye-opening experience. He detailed his impressions.
“The family environment and the facilities,” Gibbs told InsideTennessee. “I really like the indoor facility. It was real nice. The coaches, they treat me really well. It’s like a family environment. I was talking to coach Jancek and he just said, ‘Give me a call anytime you need whenever you want to talk about anything about football, anything happening in your life. So, I like the environment.”
Tennessee coach Butch Jones, together with assistant coaches Robert Gillespie, John Jancek and Willie Martinez stay in contact. The orange-clad representatives speak with the athlete “all the time.”
“Every time I leave they want me to come back,” Gibbs said.
“Just been catering me, and walking me around and showing me things, showing me a lot of good stuff, talking to me, coaching me up as far as a personal prospect aside from football. I like that.”
“Oh yeah, oh yeah, all the time, they do,” Gibbs said. “I was just texting my Uncle Dale right before I started talking to you guys. I’ve seen some pictures of him. He’s one of the top safeties to ever come through (Tennessee). Next time, I’ll come up here with my cousin Nigel Warrior.”
With so much time between now and National Signing Day, the 6-foot-2, 216-pounder said “all 29 on the board” in terms of considering all of his scholarship offers. Separating the heroes from the zeroes won’t be simple as he eventually trims his list. How will he do it?
“That is a great question,” said Gibbs, who got his first first grant from Baylor as an eighth grader. “If you think about it, every school has great facilities, every school has this and that and every school has something that others don’t. It’s going to have to come down to where I fit in. Who’s coming in and who’s leaving as far as player wise. ‘How do I fit in? Do I really enjoy the school? Is there where I can see myself for four years? Is this where my heart goes? Is this where I can feel myself playing?’ That’s what it’s going to have to come down to.”
|Former NFL Pro Bowler Dale Carter (pictured) has told Gibbs about playing for the Volunteers.|
Tennessee offered after the five-star’s freshman season in Sewanee, Georgia, and has already hosted Gibbs for three unofficial visits, including a practice viewing and for the Missouri game in November.
“I’ll be back pretty soon,” the sophomore said. “I really like Tennessee a lot. It’s a great school. But, you know it’s a lot of schools out there. It’s going to be tough, like one of the hardest decisions of my life. It’s going to be real tough.”
A handful of fellow Peach State talents joined Gibbs in the late-season trip to Neyland Stadium. Big Orange Country left an impression.
“The fans are crazy. I really like that. They’re behind the team 100-percent,” he said.
“The fans are into it. The coaches are into it. You can tell just everybody…the environment. They’re there for the game, not just because it’s Tennessee. They love the game. They love their players. They do a lot.”
Scout ranks the Peachtree Ridge (Ga.) High School standout as a wide receiver, but his positional home is up to Gibbs, “so I can come up here and they want me to choose as far as I want to play.”
The two-way talent doesn’t have a firm idea on what spot at which he plans to compete.
“Not sure yet. I’m playing both sides obviously right now but as far as the college aspect, I’m not sure yet.”
Gibbs said he is completely healthy after suffering a medial collateral ligament sprain and a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee in the first half of his first game in 2014. In fact, he plans to compete in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter and high jump for Peachtree Ridge’s track team.