Football Recruiting: Cornerback Rickey Gibson commits to Tennessee

After a slight lull in the action, the Tennessee Recruiting Class of 2023 made another splash in the recruiting world. This time it was 3-star cornerback Rickey Gibson who announced his commitment to the Volunteers on Sunday afternoon.

So why is a 3-star hotel a splash? Despite Gibson’s ranking (461st overall, 43rd cornerback), he has garnered real SEC interest. Tennessee struggled for Gibson’s engagement against both the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Georgia Bulldogs, and it only recently turned around. It’s a big win over other SEC teams for a player in a position where Tennessee is in dire need of talent.

Gibson hails from Hewitt-Trussville High School in Trussville, Alabama. Hewitt-Trussville is typically good for at least three to four Division I players a year and frequently features in the top 150 player rankings. So it doesn’t come out of nowhere. According to 247Sports, Gibson is 6 feet and 171 pounds.

The SEC’s interest is easy to explain once you see Gibson’s tape. The tools to be a No. 1 cornerback are all there. He has great speed and very quick feet along with some playmaking skills. There aren’t many receivers out there that can outperform Gibson, and he has more than straight-line speed. He moves very well sideways and also has a lot of potential in running support. His bond shows that he’s not afraid to make contact either.

If there’s anything missing from Gibson’s film right now, it’s probably the ability to block opposing players on the fly and force a receiver to fight away from the line of scrimmage. I don’t think it’s a physical issue – there are plenty of clips where Gibson isn’t afraid to get dirty. I think it’s more a matter of technique/trend. At this level, Gibson can afford to give receivers some space, knowing he can always beat them on point.

I don’t want to say this like they’re competing for a place in the class. But if you compare Gibson’s band to the other cornerback commit in the class, 3-star Cristian Conyer, you see what it means to have a “high ceiling” versus a “high floor.” I mentioned that Conyer has all the makings of a perimeter corner. Gibson has what it takes to be a field corner. He’s the guy you can leave on an island against the best receiver on a team and know you’ll be fine.

This assumes, of course, that its development stays on track. There’s still a long way to go before we can expect Gibson to get starting repeats in a Tennessee jersey. He’s not the player I’d bet on to steal a freshman job right away. But he’s the kind of recruit who can give you peace of mind that your secondary school has the necessary level of talent. That’s something it’s honestly missing at the moment.

Gibson is the 20th recruit class commit. He’s only the second cornerback in the class, and Tennessee likely want at least one more to round out their defensive backfield. Gibson and Conyer are a good base — and Tennessee can really knock it out of the park when they hit one of their top targets.

Leave a Comment