ST. PETERSBURG — Reilly Gibbons, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound tight end at St. Petersburg Catholic, is climbing up some of the recruiting lists. The rising junior has an offer from Tennessee, but is looking for more. John C. Cotey caught up with him this week after a practice.
What are you hoping to get out of spring?
I just need to go out there and show out, to show what I’ve got. I’ve got to make the catches, and I have to hit all my blocks. I’m also hoping to step it up on defense. I was a little bit lackadaisical last year but this year it’s my time.
The big debate surrounding you — tight end or offensive tackle. How do you see it?
Tight end. But I’m open to everything. I just want to play Division I college football and get a good education.
I love Notre Dame. I’ve always loved Notre Dame.
What do you need to do to get there?
I’ve got to get bigger, I’ve got to get stronger, I’ve got to get faster.
What’s the biggest thing?
Speed. Speed, speed, speed.
Where are you now, and where do you need to be.
I run a 4.9. I need to get to a 4.7. But I’m working out weekends and every Tuesday with (running back) Ryan Green’s speed coach Andre Hudson. I think I’ll get there.
One O-line is green …
East Lake is being hailed as one of the top teams in the area in part because of its skill players.
Quarterback Pete DiNovo and receiver Artavis Scott, both Division I talents, are among those returning.
But if there is one area of deficiency, at least in terms of experience, it is the offensive line. The Eagles return just two starters, Mason Cole and Shane Fagan. Cole, a rising junior, is among the best in the county and already has an offer from FSU. The three battling to fill the holes in the line are Christian Delia, Joe Dickson and Tom Spaziani, all backups last fall.
“We have a good group of guys up front,” East Lake coach Bob Hudson said. “They’re just young. We need them to come through to be successful.”
…Another is seasoned
If there’s one thing Tarpon Springs has in abundance, it’s offensive linemen. The Spongers return all five starters and have 19 linemen on varsity. There are so many that coach Ron Hawn does not have to worry about them playing on both sides of the ball.
“It’s a nice position to be in,” he said.
And they’ll be around for a while. Only one, Andrew Hagaman, will be a senior next season.
Next big thing?
Looking for the next standout at Lakewood? Coach Cory Moore said it’s going to be rising sophomore Daquez Watson. Watson has impressed Moore in the first few practices at safety and he expects him to be a big contributor on defense.
“He’s 6-2, about 200 pounds and he can play,” Moore said. “He’s also a basketball player. Shoot, wait ’til you see him. He’s going to be a big-time player.”
Moore said it’s only a matter of time before colleges start noticing Watson.
“We’ve got about 12 guys being recruited right now,” Moore said. “(College recruiters) will beat me into my office, and I get here at 6:30 in the morning. It’s nonstop.”
“Because of our numbers, you can only practice one side of the ball each day. Bigger programs can work offense and defense. We have to stick to one side so it limits what you can do. We’ll have six offensive practices and six defensive practices and keep everything basic.” — Admiral Farragut coach Chris Miller, who has only about 35 players out for practice. AFA also has one of the briefest spring workouts, with its game May 18 at Berkeley Prep.
Bob Putnam and Rodney Page contributed to this report.