NOTE: On Thursday, Gibson released his Top 7 schools, and said this is the order in which he likes them most: 1) Tennessee and Auburn (tied); 3) LSU; 4) Oklahoma; 5) Ohio State; 6) Miami; 7) UCF.
In about five years, if there are thousands of kids named Torrance watching Tennessee games in Neyland Stadium or Auburn games in Jordan-Hare, one could point to this spring as the pivotal time period for that naming pattern. Just like famous TV shows and their stars can make certain names popular with new parents, certain sports’ fan bases act the same.
Torrance Gibson—the nation’s top uncommitted quarterback prospect with five-stars stamped prominently on his resume—knows all about it.
In an interview with Saturday Down South this week, he explained some of the wacky things fans have said to him, both in person and on social media.
“Oh a couple fans have done some weird things, pretty funny things,” Gibson told SDS. “Some fans keep saying they would name their child after me if I committed to their school. So that’s pretty funny.
“At first I was shocked and then I started laughing about it a little bit. I kept thinking, this guy is not serious.”
Welcome to the world of a young man who was rather anonymous about a year ago. Now, his name is spray painted on boulders two states away, he has thousands of people hanging on his every Tweet (yes, I just typed that) and when he says he’s going to announce a top 7, or top 15 or whatever … fans fight openly and viciously on his Facebook page thread.
Gibson is a hot topic in the SEC and with Ohio State. The funny thing is, he’s from south Florida but the Miami Hurricanes were never a foregone conclusion to land him. He can still walk around rather anonymously in Broward County, Florida … but if it is Knoxville or Auburn or Baton Rouge things might get a little crazy.
But again, it’s still rather relaxed at home. Case in point—track meets. Gibson is one of the top sprinters in Florida–his speed is one of his greatest attributes in both sports.
“No one knows who I am when I’m at a track meet, and I like that a lot,” Gibson told SDS. “I don’t want all that attention when I run. That makes me more nervous than I usually am. I think people know me from football, not track.”
That may be his only respite from the mounting pressure of football recruiting. One Tennessee fan wrote Gibson this week on his Facebook page and said he’d be the greatest QB to come through since Peyton Manning, and maybe he’d be better than Manning.
“That was pretty awesome when I saw that,” Gibson told SDS. “When somebody even just says you can be better than Peyton Manning, that’s amazing. He was such a great quarterback there and being as good as him would be an honor. I would try to break all of his records if I make it there. I’m sure the team would help me to do it, it would be as much about them as me.”
For now, he’ll just keep being Torrance—an unusually engaging five-star prospect who is riding the wave of attention he’s getting. Not in a pompous way, more like … just taking it all in stride.
“It has made me into a man and shown me a lot, like that not everybody will end up being your friend, that if you don’t pick their school, they’ll hate you,” Gibson told SDS. “But I’ve learned to just keep on moving, to keep going forward with my life.”
And the stress level of the recruiting craziness so far, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most intense?
“It’s a zero, definitely,” Gibson said. “You only have one life to live, and you can only be a kid once. I’ve worked this hard to get here, so why go back. Just live it up and have fun with it. Not everybody gets this.”
Exactly what you want to hear from a quarterback who is going to have to handle a lot of pressure.