Torrance Gibson recruit scouting report: Can athlete become elite QB?

Student Sports

What do you need to know about one of the country's best dual-threat quarterbacks?

Torrance Gibson, of Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) American Heritage School, is one of the most intriguing prospects in the country. At 6'4 and 195 pounds, he immediately stands out from his peers.

In fact, he is — as of March — considered to be the top dual-threat quarterback in the country, period. Gibson has earned an early 5-star rating on the 247sports composite, and is the only player in that positional grouping to do so, although he has plenty of competition in hot pursuit. The 6'4 signal-caller also ranks fifth among recruits in Florida for 2015 — one of seven 5-star players in the Sunshine State — and 13th overall on the 247sports composite. ESPN rates him as an athlete, and it will be interesting to see if other recruiting services follow.

As of March 2014, he holds more than 20 scholarship offers, which include three from in-state powers Florida, Florida State and Miami. Big-time programs like Ohio State, LSU, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Penn State and Notre Dame also have offered.

But in evaluating Gibson, it is necessary to evaluate him as an athlete who could play receiver, and as a quarterback, because the quality of his skills in those two areas are very different.

As an athlete...

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.

As a quarterback...

There is no doubt that Gibson is an incredible high school quarterback. His highlights are amazing.

If I were a high school coach, I would use Gibson just as he is being used by American Heritage. He is basically unstoppable in high school, and especially so when he has a five-star running back (Sony Michel) and a four-star receiver (Isaiah McKenzie) with which to work. Gibson had 315 all-purpose yards in leading American Heritage to the 5A state title.

All of the athletic ability mentioned above — the speed, the acceleration, the change of direction, they all help Gibson at quarterback.

But for my money, Gibson is not a five-star quarterback prospect. He is a five-star athlete. Because of his legs, he may be a four-star quarterback, but at some point, every quarterback must throw, and that's where the questions begin for Gibson.

Gibson has a good, but not great arm. His motion needs to be completely reworked, as he has a long, loopy delivery and doesn't involve his body in his throws, leading to a lack of velocity on some, and inaccuracy on many others.

His highlight tape is almost all bubble screens, bombs to wide open receivers and scrambles. There is very little of Gibson throwing in rhythm, standing in the pocket, reading a defense and delivering accurately. He does seem to be more accurate throwing streaks and bombs, however, and that is something that can translate at the college level if he sticks at quarterback.

Gibson knows that he must look at spread schemes that will feature his running ability and lessen the burden on him to throw the football, offering more opportunities to throw off play-action and against single coverages.

But will those schemes develop him for the next level, or will they get caught up in using his incredible running ability over and over? That's a legitimate question. I believe Gibson's future is much brighter at receiver than it is at quarterback. While he is raw at receiver, I think it says a lot that he is even more raw at quarterback, having played QB throughout his high school career, and not receiver. He told me recently, however, that he is only considering playing quarterback in college, and does not listen to teams who tell him that he should also look at receiver. If he follows through with that plan, I think Gibson will need a developmental year or two before he can make an impact under center.

Gibson is a rare player with legitimate options to play multiple positions at different schools. It will be interesting to follow his recruitment and career.

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