Loyalty a key factor in Gibbs’ commitment

At long last, Terrance Gibbs is a Florida Gator. The top-200 running back from Winter Garden, Florida, declared Florida as his leader in June and initially planned to announce his commitment by the end of June.

Instead, as the Gators prepared to host their annual Friday Night Lights recruiting extravaganza, Gibbs still hadn’t committed.

He finally pulled the trigger during the camp.

“I just felt like it was the perfect time because all the coaches are here, all the coaches are full behind me in my decision and my parents,” Gibbs said. “I just felt like this was the right time to come out with my decision.”

He’s a high risk, high reward type of prospect. As a freshman at Master’s Academy in Oviedo, he averaged more than 11 yards per carry and scored 21 touchdowns. He followed that up with another 1,000-yard season as a sophomore. He’s also a threat to catch passes out of the backfield.

Clearly, he was on track to be one of the top running backs in the country.

“Was” is the key word in that last sentence. Gibbs, 6-foot, 190 pounds, tore his ACL prior to the start of his junior season at Winter Garden. He’s still going through rehab and hasn’t been cleared by doctors yet.

There’s a chance that Gibbs won’t be the same dynamic player as he was prior to the injury. It’s difficult enough to make electric cuts against world-class defenders when you have two healthy knees and plenty of self-confidence. College coaches have every right to be skeptical of Gibbs until he gets back on the field and proves that he’s still the same guy.

Some schools backed away from him and pursued other running backs. UF wasn’t one of them. They continued to prioritize him, and that loyalty played a huge factor in his decision.

“It meant a lot,” Gibbs said. “A lot of other coaches, some kept hitting me up. Others, they dropped off. But, their loss.”

It wasn’t just as simple as the Gators being his best option left, though. He genuinely likes the coaches and feels like this is home.

“It’s really, really good,” he said. “I can come to them, talk to them about anything. Any day throughout the week, they’ll pick up and answer.

“Building a relationship with the coaches, it means a lot. Just a family away from home.”

He also likes the way the coaches plan on using him as a multi-dimensional playmaker instead of just as a between-the-tackles runner.

“I would say I’m a game-changer,” he said. “Have me on the field, knowing that I can catch, I’m an every-down back. I feel like with Florida’s offense, they can use me in a really good way.”

Gibbs plans on graduating high school early and enrolling at Florida in January.

Ethan was born in Gainesville and has lived in the Starke, Florida, area his entire life. He played basketball for five years and knew he wanted to be a sportswriter when he was in middle school. He’s attended countless Gators athletic events since his early childhood, with baseball being his favorite sport to attend. He’s a proud 2019 graduate of the University of Florida and a 2017 graduate of Santa Fe College. He interned with the University Athletic Association’s communications department for 1 ½ years as a student and has spent the last two football seasons writing for InsideTheGators.com. He is a long-suffering fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Rays. You can follow him on Twitter @ehughes97.