It’s less than five months until the 2016 season begins and less than 10 months until the recruiting class of 2017 can sign their National Letters of Intent. With fierce recruiting battles underway for the top recruits in the country, it’s a good time to get to know the players who appear poised to become college football stars in the near future. So far, we’ve analyzed Najee Harris and Dylan Moses, the top-rated recruits in the class of 2017, according to Scout.com. This week, it’s DeAngelo Gibbs, the No. 3 player in the class.
Name: DeAngelo Gibbs
Rank: No. 3 overall, No. 2 athlete
Height/Weight: 6’2”/191 pounds
High School: Grayson (Ga.) High
Commitment Status: Uncommitted
Scouting Evaluation (from Scout.com)
Gibbs is a special talent. He can do about anything you want on the football field from an athletic standpoint. He is best at wide receiver entering his junior season, but cornerback or safety may be where he ends up down the road. He is very fluid and he can really run with the best as a defensive back. His ball skills, body control, and speed are strengths on either side of the ball. Just a natural star.
With nearly endless options—he has received more than 30 scholarship offers—Gibbs is doing his homework. He has visited nine different programs, including frequent trips to Tennessee and Georgia, most recently for the Bulldogs’ G Day this past weekend. Gibbs is playing it pretty close to the vest but admitted Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, LSU and Alabama have “caught my eye.” Texas, Clemson and Baylor are making hard pushes to keep him out of the SEC. For new Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart, Gibbs represents a good test to prove he can keep Georgia’s top talent in-state. The state of Georgia’s top 2016 recruit, Derrick Brown, spurned the Bulldogs for Auburn on National Signing Day. Smart will hope to avoid a repeat. Gibbs plans to narrow down his choices over the course of his senior season before committing at an All-America game and enrolling early.
How he fits
Though listed as an athlete, Gibbs’s future is likely at cornerback, and most schools have used their defensive backs coaches to pitch him. Given his size, however, he could fill in at safety, too.
Georgia already counts two commits in its secondary from the class of 2017: four-star safety Richard Lecounte and four-star cornerback William Poole. The Bulldogs are already pretty loaded at defensive back, but it’s worth noting that expected 2016 starting cornerbacks Malkom Parrish and Rico McGraw both played as freshmen. While Smart was around to make those decisions, he has his own track record of starting freshmen defensive backs right away at Alabama, including Marlon Humphrey and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Gibbs could pay close attention to how five-star athlete signee Mecole Hardman enjoys his first season at Georgia this fall.
At Tennessee, Gibbs could form a potent backfield pairing with four-star cornerback Cheyenne Labruzza, who committed to the Volunteers after the Orange and White Game on Saturday. He could also join up with his cousin, five-star safety signee Nigel Warrior. Tennessee has its own history of plugging freshmen cornerbacks in the lineup right away, starting now-rising senior Cameron Sutton as a true freshman in 2013. With his elite athleticism, Gibbs can expect to contend for immediate playing time no matter where he goes.