St. Petersburg Catholic's Reilly Gibbons orally committed to the University of Miami on Monday, choosing the Hurricanes from a list of 37 college offers.
The rising senior left tackle has long had Miami near the top of his list. The Hurricanes recruited him when he was a sophomore tight end, and their interest did not wane when he switched to left tackle last season. Miami assistant Art Kehoe, who has strong ties to the Tampa Bay area, was Gibbons' primary recruiter.
"Playing wise, (switching to LT) hasn't been all that different," Gibbons said. "The only thing that is new is I got to wear No. 75. They liked me as a tight end; they love me as a left tackle."
Gibbons said he has received 60 hand-written notes from the Miami staff over the past three days, delivered to the family's vacation home near Key West.
"It was over the top," he said. "I still admit I wasn't sure what was happening."
Also factoring into his decision to pick Miami: He wanted to stay close to home and said Miami was the best education you can get in the state of Florida.
Gibbons said he did extensive research into potential violations for Miami, including reading the letters posted on the web by UM president Donna Shalala, and felt confident the Hurricanes would not be facing stiff sanctions.
The big Baron, now 6-foot-5 and 285 pounds, had an exceptional year for SPC in 2012, often dominating the competition. Gibbons has been very active on the recruiting circuit, unofficially visiting more than a dozen schools and faring well in every camp he competed in. He is still filling out and has a high ceiling, and was eager to make a decision before his senior season in hope of bypassing the crush of the recruiting process.
Landing Gibbons, No. 7 in the Times' February ranking of 2014 prospects, is a big pick up for Miami. The Hurricanes did very well in Tampa Bay with the class of 2012 — landing Jefferson's Tyriq McCord, Plant's Antonio Crawford, Countryside's Gray Crow and Admiral Farragut's Rayshawn Jenkins — but did not make an impact with the 2013 class, signing no local players.