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With 63 days until Virginia Tech faces Alabama in the Georgia Dome, we turn our attention to no. 63 on roster Mr. Laurence Gibson. After excelling in limited snaps last season, Gibson will be the man out at right tackle this season. Heading into this fall, Gibson seems to be the only lineman who has his spot locked up. With a positive performance last year and quality snaps this spring, I think Gibson is primed for a big season. He was a big recruit out of Hargrave Military Academy and it’s time for him to become Tech’s top NFL prospect on the offensive line.
Weight: 303 lbs
Position: Offensive Tackle
High School: Buena High School
High School Career
Out of Buena, Arizona, Gibson didn’t garner many offers out on the west coast. He enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy and was immediately identified by several east coast powers. Gibson earned offers from Virginia Tech, Auburn, Clemson, Boston College, and Mississippi State. I’m sure more colleges sent him an offer but that’s all that Rivals.com shows on his profile.
Reasons For Excitement
NFL Potential: To be honest, I’m not sure why Coach Newsome didn’t opt to play Gibson more last season. There could be a behind the scenes reason but in limited snaps, Gibson was the most active, aggressive, and best overall lineman we had. Now at right tackle, I think you’ll see Gibson pick up where Vinston Painter left off last season.
Coach Grimes: I’ve listed this for several other linemen but I think Gibson will be a major benefactor from our coaching changes this offseason. I don’t think he and Coach Newsome saw eye-to-eye on some things, which may have kept him on the bench longer than he should have been.
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Causes For Concern
Very Green: While Gibson is entering his fourth season on campus, he’s only played 27 snaps in his first two seasons of eligibility. With Alabama up on the schedule first that is certainly a concern as we transition into fall practice here in five weeks.
May Struggle With Speed Rushers: As much as I like Gibson as a future NFL prospect, he doesn’t have that elite foot quickness that you see in great NFL left and right tackles. That may be a concern against the more athletic teams on our schedule such as Alabama, UNC, Miami, and Georgia Tech.
What to Expect in 2013
With only two years left in orange and maroon, I’m really pulling for Gibson to become the first offensive lineman drafted in the first two rounds in the 2015 NFL draft. I think he has that kind of upside and that kind of potential. However, I have very little ground to stand on when making that prediction. He has 27 snaps worth of game footage.
That said, the right tackle job is his to lose and it would take a pretty big flop for someone else to steal the starting spot away from him. Gibson is a big body with long arms and good straight-ahead speed. If he can get a little quicker and play with a little more aggression, I think he’ll be just fine out on the edge.
While the offensive line isn’t going to improve overnight, I think Tech has a good player in Gibson to stick at right tackle. If he does what he needs to do this summer to stay in shape, I think he’ll be primed for a breakout season in 2013.
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