CLEVELAND HEIGHTS – Shelton Gibson’s announcement date is a little more than a month away, and the Cleveland Heights receiver still has the same two teams out front. But the gap continues to shrink between those two and a number of other programs.
Auburn and Ohio State are the leaders for the four-star prospect ranked No. 1 among receivers in the state of Ohio. Gibson went down with his high school coach, Jeff Rotsky, and a few teammates in early April to Ohio State to check out a spring practice, his first look at the Buckeyes’ new offense under Urban Meyer.
“Not to downsize their receivers at all, but they could definitely use some help – not help but I can see myself coming in and starting,” the 5-foot-11, 173-pound junior said. “I was a little shook up about them having a lot of receivers on the board, but I can see myself going in and starting.”
At Meyer’s signing day press conference Feb. 1 when he announced the 2012 class, Meyer emphasized the Buckeyes still needed to get faster at the skill positions. Gibson says that is one of his biggest strengths.
“Speed,” he said when asked what he has that he did not see in Ohio State’s other receivers at that practice. “And I’m so hungry for the ball. They was hungry for the ball … but I’m going to try and dive for it and run my hardest to it.”
Since leaving Florida following the 2008 season, there has not been another Percy Harvin in Meyer’s offense. Many have tried to fill the role but none have impacted the game like Harvin did for three seasons at Florida.
Gibson said the staff thinks he can finally fill that role.
“I watched Florida all the time, but I didn’t really look at Percy Harvin like that,” Gibson said. “Ever since I got the O-State offer and Urban Meyer, I went to Percy Harvin’s highlight film and he do look just like me.
“It would look good playing under Urban Meyer.”
It appears the gap between Auburn and Ohio State is growing as the gap between Auburn and Gibson grows. As of last week, Gibson guesses he had not talked to the Tigers’ staff in roughly three weeks. The Tigers will always be around the top of his list because they were his first big offer, but there has not been much communication between them.
“It seem like I haven’t talked to them as much as I been talking to O-State,” he said. “I love to start talking back with them like I used to. I have to go down there for a [third] visit, but like O-State I can just drive … but getting down to Auburn, that would be a plane and a lot of gas money.”
With nearly 20 offers, Gibson has a handful of teams making a late charge before his June 20 announcement date – the same day as his mother’s birthday.
“After [Auburn and Ohio State] it would definitely have to be Illinois, Mississippi State and I think I’m on the verge of getting an offer from Alabama because I been talking to the coach like here and there,” he said. “Cincinnati, I talk to them a lot, Michigan State.
“... I’m opening it up a lot, but they’re still the top two.”