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Friday, January 3, 2014

Keegan

Column: Next season, watch out for KU walk-on lineman Gibson

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For Kansas State, Jordy Nelson outran Aqib Talib and the wind on his way to one of his 122 receptions, one of his 11 touchdown catches, and 68 of his 1,606 receiving yards as a senior in 2007. Defensive lineman Ryan Mueller and safety Ty Zimmerman earned first-team All-Big 12 honors this season.

For Michigan State, Kyler Elsworth was one of the two linebackers who flew over the line to make the fourth-down stop that vaulted the Spartans to a Rose Bowl victory against favored Stanford.

Nelson, Mueller, Zimmerman and Elsworth all entered school as walk-ons and never will exit the memory banks of supporters of their schools.

Kansas University needs to do a better job in that area, but Connor Embree did perform well in 2013 at the most difficult job in football, returning punts. And a big walk-on generated a loud buzz during his first season on campus.

Coach Charlie Weis, former offensive line coach Tim Grunhard and fifth-year senior center Gavin Howard all singled out Joe Gibson, who spent his first season out of Rockhurst High as a red-shirt center.

“He’s the real deal, now,” Grunhard said of Gibson with a few weeks remaining in the season. Howard stabilized the center position midway through the season. Mike Smithburg couldn’t get his snaps down in the spring game and moved to guard. Pat Lewandowski had similar troubles and shifted to tackle. Dylan Admire also had a tough time at center.

Howard’s eligibility is used up, but he insists there is no need to panic.

“Gibson, man, he’s a walk-on, but he’s not talented like a walk-on,” Howard said. “He’s really a scholarship-level talent.”

Gibson measured at 6-foot-3 and 274 pounds coming into the season, but has packed on so much muscle that he’s close to 300 pounds. Jacob Bragg, a 6-4, 308-pound center from Nacogdoches, Texas, has made a verbal commitment to attend KU. Junior college signee Keyon Haughton of Georgia Military has experience at guard and center.

Don’t look for Gibson’s twin, Thomas, to walk onto the football team to join the competition. Also a student at KU, Thomas is 100-some pounds lighter and about a half-foot shorter than Joe.

You can bet the twins’ Uncle Harry will be in the stands for all of Joe’s home games. Why should the next four years be any different? Harry and Becky Gibson are mainstays at KU football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball games.

Harry, a standout at Wyandotte High, started three seasons for the KU basketball team (1962-64) and as a senior was a captain, named to the five-member All-Academic Big 12 team, and received the Dr. Forrest C. “Phog” Allen Award, given to KU’s senior academic athlete of the year.

Paul Gibson, the twins’ father, is 16 years younger than his brother Harry, who, by the way, looks as if he could still whip half the student body in a game of one-on-one.

Comments

Ron Prichard 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm not sure, but I think this article was going to be about a walk-on KU football player but somewhere along the way it got lost and then was about his family and then it was about some players that used to play, did I mention there was a comment about the Rose Bowl? Texas played USC in one of the best Rose Bowl games in history and Texas won a national championship in that game. It was Mack Brown's only championship. Mack is a great guy, but he wasn't the best coach. He could get talent but didn't always utilize it well. Speaking of talent, KU is short on it. One of the best short players I can remember is McCluster. McCluster didn't play at KU but he plays for the Chiefs. I went to a Chiefs game this year. Ticket prices have gotten out of hand.

I'll hand it to TK, I couldn't follow this article to save my life but its making me laugh. Speaking of laughs, has anyone watched Bill Burr's standup? If not, go to youtube and search for "Bill Burr Muffins." Funniest thing you will watch in a long time.

Can I have a job, LJW?

3

Doug Cramer 3 months, 2 weeks ago

There is something going on with Weis's JUCO heavy recruiting that is being over looked. THere is a major lack of young talent inflow into the program.

The talent level of this team is so heavily weighted toward the junior and senior classes.

Once we lose the likes of Pierson, Miller, Bourbon, Shepherd, Ben Heeney, Sendish, Cox, Goodman, and Reynolds....this program will be back to the Terry Allen days. Actually I think we're already there...and we're playing juniors and seniors !

Think we're bad now...just wait a couple - three years.

Don't know how to say this nicely...but thats why Zenger should have removed Weis. Weis is definitely a good dude...and fun with the media. He's one hell of an offensive coordinator in the NFL. But has never proven himself as a head coach in college football.

We all wondered why the national football analysts were scratching their heads when Zenger hired Weis...well now we know.

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Randy Maxwell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Yep, Jordy the walk on out ran the 2 star prospect Talib, gotta love recruiting rankings

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Brett McCabe 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Since the OL was a major weakness last year, it's great to hear that we might already have someone in the pipeline who can help. Guys like Gibson amaze me because they often pass-up FCS offers to pursue their dreams of playing at FBS schools. A decision like that takes a lot of courage.

And for something completely unrelated.....Congratulations to the Sooners on an epic performance last night. Let's hope that the Cowboys follow the same pattern tonight!

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John Myers 3 months, 2 weeks ago

It's like sometimes you just wake up, vomit a bunch of words onto a page, and publish it.

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Dirk Medema 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Wow. Things are really slow - and desperate.

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Andy Hess 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Nelson outran Talib because he pushed off before the catch. That's offensive pass interference if I've ever seen it.

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