By Gary Lloyd
Nick Gibson always wanted to be a linebacker, but he was just too good at running away from defenders.
The Pinson Valley junior running back, however, still draws inspiration from the defensive side of the football. At home, he searches YouTube for locker room speeches by former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. The speeches motivate Gibson.
“That really drives me,” Gibson said. “I feel like if he can make it, then I can make it.”
Gibson is a standout running back, one of the best in the state, in the country. The 6-foot, 195-pounder has scholarship offers from Mississippi State, Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida State. Last season, Gibson rushed 137 times for 938 yards and eight touchdowns. He also caught 15 passes for 260 yards and three scores. As a freshman, he rushed 66 times for 581 yards and five touchdowns.
Pinson Valley head football coach Matt Glover said he forecasts a “breakout year” for Gibson this season. The departures of receivers Earnest Robinson, Harry Mason and other productive offensive weapons means more carries for Gibson this season.
“He’s going to get his totes,” Glover said. “He’s always one of those guys that’s trying to get better.”
Gibson said he’s good with carrying the ball 20 to 30 times per game, if that’s what his team needs. A glimpse of this was seen in May’s spring game at Clay-Chalkville, a game in which Gibson played one half, rushing 16 times for 68 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 33 yards.
He worked every day this summer, staying after practice to work on his craft. He pushes others to work as hard as him, though he mainly inspires through his work ethic.
“I don’t really talk that much,” Gibson said.
Gibson’s favorite part of football is contact, and he thinks he can be a running back in the SEC one day. He credits his “talented” teammates, though, for the success Pinson Valley will have this season.
“Nick works harder than probably anyone else on the team in the weight room and on the field,” said senior quarterback Brooks Garrett. “He’s definitely one of the strongest guys on the team. He is very important to us this season and we’ll be looking to get him the ball as much as possible. He has good character and is liked by everyone on the team.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.