Player Spotlight: Dominique Gibson

Glades Central High School in Fla. is one of the teams showcased Labor Day weekend on ESPN2 against Dwyer High School. After two consecutive runner-up finishes in 2A, the Raiders are rated highly on many national pre-season top 25 lists. Dominique Gibson is a player many coaches may want to get to know before the big TV exposure comes in the fall.

"Right now, I have eight offers," said Dominique Gibson. "My most recent was from Ohio University. My first offer came from East Carolina. Just two nights ago I received an offer from Wake Forest."

Wake Forest recruiting coordinator, Ray "Coach Mac" McCartney, was the coach who called to extend the offer to Gibson at his high school.

"They just get one phone call, so I hadn't heard from them in awhile," Gibson said of Wake Forest. "Coach [Roosevelt] Blackmon called me into his office and gave me the phone. Coach Mac said he came to the spring game and asked if I remembered him. I told him 'yes'. Then he told me they wanted to offer me a full scholarship.

"It's a good academic school, but also a good school to play ball at. I would love to go play for Coach Mac. He liked me as a free safety that does a lot of different things like man-to-man, blitzing. I'm very excited about receiving the offer."

Gibson, 5-foot-11, 197-pounds, was All-State (2A) at linebacker last season, but new coach Roosevelt Blackmon is moving him to safety for his senior year.

"I was always a safety, but as a sophomore there were a lot of upperclassmen safeties, so I went to linebacker," said Gibson. "This year I improved on reading plays. I started to think like an offensive coordinator thinks and did a good job anticipating where the ball was going and getting there to make the play."

Gibson plans to camp this summer at Florida State, Florida (at a Friday Night Lights camp), Miami, Ohio State and possibly more.

"This spring I went to a Nike Combine in Miami," said Gibson. "I also attended a Junior Day at the University of Miami. This summer I'd like to visit Georgia, Vanderbilt and Marshall. Vandy and Marshall are neck-and-neck as my favorite right now. More than likely I'll make it to Wake Forest. I've already been talking with some people about riding together up there."

Gibson's stock rose with a strong showing this spring. In the Raiders' spring game, he made an interception and returned it for 40 yards and made 8.5 tackles. Many colleges are looking at Gibson at both safety and linebacker positions.

"I'd like to go to a college that puts players my size in the League," Gibson said. "I want to play ball for a coach who treats me well. If I make a mistake he'll get on me, but then lift me back up. I want to go to a place I can have fun, but also focus on what I'm there to do, play ball and get an education."

After falling twice in the state championship game in consecutive years to Cocoa High School (last year by just a point), Gibson and his teammates are looking for redemption in 2011.

"We have a lot of great players returning," said Gibson. "Cre'von LeBlanc, Jamie Wilson, Jatavis Brown will be seniors. William Likely will probably be one of the best players to come out of Glades Central. He'll be a junior. The number one goal is a state championship. I want to set the record as a defensive unit for shutouts in a season. My individual goal is to be the first player from Glades Central to win Florida's Mr. Football."

Gibson played basketball and track (400 meters and the triple jump) after football season. His best 40 time is a 4.57 run at a South Florida camp. Gibson reports a 2.7 GPA and interest in studying Communications in college.

From a football family, Gibson's uncle, Kelvin Benjamin, also from Glades Central, is a freshman this fall at Florida State. Gibson's older brother passed away unexpectedly in 2008. He feels like he's "living his life" by becoming a football star. He wears No. 5 for the Raiders.

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