Sunday at the Miami Nike Football Training Camp was a mixed bag for Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) American Heritage five-star QB/athlete Torrance Gibson. He struggled throwing the football, and stood out among a very lacking quarterback field because of his build (6'4, 200), not his arm.
Nonetheless, Gibson did earn an invite to Nike's The Opening (a prestigious showcase in Oregon) as an athlete, with a chance to earn a spot at quarterback if he improves considerably between now and early July. He is one of only 20 Florida recruits to receive the honor at this point in the summer camp cycle.
Gibson has not been working on playing quarterback all that much early on in 7-on-7 season, playing almost exclusively receiver, where he has made highlight catches and torched some of the best defensive backs in the state. It will be interesting to see how much quarterback he plays over the next several months.
Despite the struggles as a passer and his seemingly effortless success at receiver in previous competitions, Gibson is determined to play quarterback in college, following in the footsteps of Cam Newton and Michael Vick. In fact, he is not even listening to schools that suggest playing receiver, or even having a receiver as a backup plan in case quarterback does't work out.
"It goes in one ear and out the other," Gibson said.
With his off-the-charts athleticism and build, and a very real option to switch to receiver in college, where he would likely be rated as one of the best in the country, Gibson realizes that picking a school that utilizes his athleticism to open up the passing game will be important for him to remain at QB.
"Ohio State, Tennessee, Florida, Clemson, Oklahoma, a few others," he said when asked which schools had the best plan to take advantage of his skills. All of those teams run some variation of the spread, and most incorporate a fair amount of spread option concepts.
Regardless of where he chooses, his passing must improve by leaps and bounds if he is to succeed in college. Nike/Elite 11 QB coach Jordan Palmer pulled Gibson out of drills and focused on one specific point: rotation.
"I worked with Jordan Palmer, and he taught me a lot about my throwing motion," Gibson said. "I have to work on my shoulder rotation. Right now, I'm throwing with all arm, and you have to throw the ball with your core."
Palmer said that Gibson has a lot to work on, and that it will take time, but that becoming more rotational and less linear in his motion should help Gibson with his accuracy and consistency.
For his part, Gibson, a state championship quarterback in 2013, seems willing to put in the work necessary to improve as a passer.
Gibson is set to take a massive tour over spring break next week, tripping to Oklahoma, LSU, Ohio State, Tennessee, and maybe a few others, all in a loop.
Many believe that Ohio State is Gibson's top school. He declined to confirm that Saturday, but did say that Ohio State was "up there," and that he'll have a better idea of his schools after his visits. And even then, he is in no hurry to decide, preferring to focus on taking his time and choosing the right school.