Tennessee hosted a slew of top recruits for its Memorial Day "Rocky Top Palooza" recruiting event. Volunteer Country has updates from multiple guys after exiting with Tennessee. One of Tennessee's top cornerback targets, Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.) defender Rickey Gibson shares his thoughts on the weekend trip to Rocky Top.
"This trip just made it feel more like home," Gibson said of what was different about his third trip to Knoxville. "Coach Heupel and all of the coaches made time out for me, even though there were a lot of guys up there. It was just different because they made it feel like home."
The weekend certainly made an impression on Gibson, and the Vols are currently in a good spot for him.
"They are one of the top schools for sure," Gibson said of where Tennessee stands for him coming out of the weekend.
Spending more time with defensive backs coach Willie Martinez was one of the top highlights of the weekend for Gibson.
"I got down there early on the 27th, and I spent the whole day with Coach Martinez," Gibson said of the highlight of the trip to Tennessee. "I like Coach Martinez a lot. He is a good man and has a good vibe. He is a very serious guy when he needs to be, but he jokes around and plays around a lot. He has a lot of character, and I like that. He is not always all football. He talks about life and stuff."
The ability to connect with Martinez on a more personal level was something Gibson enjoyed over the weekend.
"It was great to see because if I do go there, I know I would be playing for a coach that cares about me," Gibson said of this. "Not just my skillset, but he really cares for me. He is just a great guy."
Martinez has been clear about how he sees Gibson fitting in if he were to come to Tennessee.
"He sees me outside at the cornerback spot," Gibson said of what Martinez has told him about his fit at Tennessee. "They know I am long and fast and that I can jump high and that I see very explosive."
Through three visits now, Gibson has had ample opportunity to learn about Tennessee's defense.
"They have said they will play to my strengths," Gibson added about what he has learned about the potential fit in Tennessee's defense. "They won't play to any weaknesses. If I excel at press, they will press. They like to press because they are mostly man defense, but they will play quarters from time to time. But they will play to my strengths."
The coveted prospect will return to Knoxville on June 17th for an official visit, and then he will head to Arkansas after that on the 24th for his second official visit. While other schools still loom in this recruitment, Gibson noted Arkansas and Tennessee are currently two of the programs recruiting him the hardest. So what will it take for a school to land his commitment?
"I am really looking at my relationship with the coach," Gibson said of this. "I am looking to see how my bond is with them and if I like the coaching style."
Whenever the time comes, Gibson knows what a school is getting in him as a player.
"I think I am bringing someone that will lock down one side of the field," Gibson said of this. "If they need me to guard the fastest or best guy out there, I will. I am just going to bring a lot of versatility."