One of the most intriguing members of Ohio State's recruiting class last year was Torrance Gibson, a highly touted four star quarterback from American Heritage. Gibson picked the Buckeyes over LSU, Miami, Auburn, and just about everybody else east of the Mississippi, and it's easy to see why. His dynamic athleticism was better than almost any other quarterback in his class, and in the right system, it wasn't hard to imagine him wreaking havoc on defenses.
But there was some question as to whether Gibson was really a quarterback at the FBS level. Could his size and breakaway speed best be utilized as a wide receiver? This question of whether he'd be able to compete for a QB job impacted his recruitment, and assurances that he'd start in that room was considered one reason he stuck with the Buckeyes on National Signing Day.
But, as you may have heard, Ohio State already has a few quarterbacks this season, and the best case scenario for Gibson is probably grabbing the third string job away from fellow freshman Joe Burrow, and redshirt freshman Stephen Collier, assuming Braxton Miller wouldn't become the third emergency QB. With his athleticism, Buckeye fans wondered, is there a chance Gibson tries another position this year, just to get on the field? With so many opening week suspensions among wideouts, there's certainly a need at that position group.
According to a report from Eleven Warriors confirmed by 247Sports, Gibson may be doing just that, as they report that during today's practice, Gibson was, in fact, taking snaps with the wide receivers.
SB Nation Recruiting Analyst Bud Elliott considered the possibility of Gibson becoming a WR earlier in the offseason, and thinks his ceiling is certainly high at the position group:
Gibson is a a freakish athlete. He ran a 21.7 in the Florida 200M finals at 6'4 and 195 pounds. He has tremendous top-end speed, and for a long-strider, he does have good acceleration and reaches top speed quickly. I have seen him dominate at receiver, leaving defenders in his dust, elevating to catch jump balls with a great vertical leap, and making circus catches.
I've also seen him drop some routine balls, and his route running is very raw, which is perhaps to be expected for a player who plays quarterback and not receiver for his high school. There is no doubt, however, that if Gibson were to dedicate himself to playing receiver, that he could be one of the best in the country and possess serious NFL potential
So that's pretty high praise. But it's also worth considering that Gibson didn't play wide receiver in high school, and didn't work at the position a ton during the camp circuit. Even with all of the natural gifts in the world, there is more to being a wideout than just running faster than everybody else, as former Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is assuredly learning right now. Even with the possibility of playing time among wideouts, one would have to assume Gibson is at a disadvantage compared to other players, who are also great athletes, who have been playing and working in the group longer.
This report also doesn't say that Gibson has permanently changed positions either. After all, on Monday, Ohio State's coach Tim Beck said Gibson would be working exclusively with the quarterbacks. Playing something other than quarterback is almost assuredly his best chance to see the field in the next season or two, but that doesn't necessarily mean he can't compete for a job after Cardale Jones and J.T Barrett depart, or if other things happen with the depth chart. It's still very early, after all.
Gibson getting some work with the wideouts is still a potentially exciting development, even if Buckeye fans may not see the payoff until later in the season, if not Gibson's career.