The legacy aspect of Tennessee’s being a possible landing spot has the Vols sticking out among the roughly 30 programs pursuing the super-athletic Gibbs, who is the nephew of former Big Orange All-American kick returner and safety Dale Carter.
“My Uncle Dale went there. He left a legacy,” Gibbs told InsideTennessee. “He encourages us to go there. He was great at Tennessee. But, at the end of the day, he’s down for whatever school we want to go to. He’s doesn’t like, ‘Tennessee this.’ But, he wants us to go to whatever school we feel like going to.”
The 6-foot-2, 191-pound Gibbs ranks by Scout as the nation’s No. 4 prospect in the 2017 class and the No. 1 athlete in the Peach State.
If after three years of being recruited by Tennessee, Gibbs signs with the Volunteers, defensive backs coach Willie Martinez will have had as much to do with landing the elite talent as anyone in Knoxville.
“(Martinez) really shows his true compassion for me, his true passion about football, about the game and whatnot,” Gibbs said. “He cares about me — not just as a football player but as a person as well. That really sticks out to me. Every time I go up there he asks me if there’s anything I need as far as any questions about the football team or any questions about coverage or any questions about life even. He’s a real good guy.”
The Scout five-star prospect drove north from Suwanee, Georgia, to attend the Orange & White game at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on April 25.
“It was great; I loved it,” Gibbs said. “They treated me like family and whatnot. I got a chance to talk to (Tennessee) coach (Butch) Jones. He’s a real good guy. Every time I go up there, I talk to coach Jones — real great guy. I talked to the defensive coordinator (John Jancek) and coach Martinez. All of them are real great guys, so I like the atmosphere a lot.”
At Peachtree Ridge (Ga.) High School, Gibbs gets a crash course on what the competition figures to be like on the next level as he’s checked by Division I talent such as Chad Clay, Breon Dixon and Nigel Warrior.
“You’re going up against them every single day,” Gibbs said. “You’re going up against college recruits, college athletes. They’re older than me but I’m pushing them past their limits. It’s great work every single day, not a day off. We’re constantly trying to make each other better. We tell each other that before we go out there on the field, ‘Let’s go, baby. Let’s get this work in.’”
Gibbs makes his way to Beaverton, Oregon, this week to compete at The Opening as one of the few juniors participating.