Just call Gibson 'The Real Deal'
Euclid junior has only played a few years but has developed into a great pass rusher
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Plain Dealer Reporter
Thaddeus Gibson didn't start play ing football until the ninth grade.
It was at that time that Euclid High's coaching staff, headed by Mike Rezzolla, recognized Gibson's raw talent - the speed, strength, quickness and nose for the ball.
"My coaches were telling me that I could be a great player some day," Gibson said.
"So I started running at night, improving my foot speed. My brother and my mother would time me to see how fast I could run around the corner."
Taking advantage of the support of his mother, Gwendolyn, and older brother, Rafeale, Gibson kept on running last season. And, more often than not, he ended up in the opponent's backfield - causing havoc.
As just a sophomore in 2003, Gibson drew the praise of rival coaches, who referred to the 6-3, 207-pound outside linebacker as the best pure pass rusher in the area.
"Offenses must prepare blocking schemes and account for him on every play," said Rezzolla.
Although he has adapted to the game of football, Gibson, 16, realizes he is just touching the surface.
He continues to work on his conditioning, day and night, and takes to heart what his defensive coaches - T.J. Florkiewicz and Tom Gibbons - preach to him.
"When he watches films, coach Florkiewicz said he wants to see all 11 defensive players in the picture, 11 heads on the ball," said Gibson. "As for coach Gibbons, it's all about swarming to the ball.
"If I lay a hand on the quarterback, I have to sack him."
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Hey, Eddie: Looking into your crystal ball, which current local football players have the best chance of becoming stars in college or maybe even the NFL?
- Bob Cobb, Elyria
Hey, Bob: When you talk about an area player who has the potential to be playing in the NFL some day, I have to start with St. Edward's senior right offensive tackle, Alex Boone. At 6-8, 320 pounds, Alex not only has the size and strength, but also the footwork and technique you don't normally see in a young kid who is that big. And with his frame, Boone can put on another 40 to 50 pounds. As his line coach, Brian Walnsch, pointed out, Alex moves so well that Ohio State (where he has committed) is considering playing him at guard.
Two other kids that I could foresee being big time in college and taking their skills to the professional level are Glenville senior linebacker Freddie Lenix and Euclid junior outside linebacker/defensive end Thaddeus Gibson. Undersized at his position (6-0, 195), Lenix is tough, fast and strong. With his Ronnie Lottlike football instincts, Freddie could develop into an All-America-caliber safety at the next level. Gibson, who used to be the area's best-kept secret, can simply dominate with his rangy strength and uncanny quickness off the ball. Like Lenix, he is a bit undersized at 6-3, 207. But, like Boone, he will grow into his frame and possibly become a force as a rush end, outside linebacker or strong safety in college. LSU is enchanted with Thaddeus' skills and potential.