Wide receivers have been growing faster than a beanstalk in recent years. It used to be 6-foot-2…
Chargers seek touchdown threat
Georgia wide receiver Fred Gibson has been on the draft map for several years. With his size advantage, he has been earmarked by NFL teams as someone to watch.
But drops and injuries have plagued his career and pushed him outside of the first round – for now. Senior Bowl and the Indianapolis Combines provide chances for Gibson to elevate his stock and turn the tide on the naysayers.
"I wanted to show the scouts that I am the type of wide receiver that they would possibly want in the NFL," Gibson said of his Senior Bowl experience. "Just go out there and show them what I am capable of doing."
Displaying big play ability at Georgia was his trademark. He ended his career with ten 100-yard performances, tying the school record. The final tally on his Bulldog career saw him place second in receiving yards and touchdowns while placing third in team annals in total receptions.
He had thirty plus receptions in each of his four seasons at Georgia and as a senior snared 49 receptions for 801 yards.
Gibson says he had seasons where he was never 100 percent healthy and that robbed him of his abilities. Hamstring pulls and a knee bruise during his junior season took away his ability to create separation.
This offseason he dedicated himself to enhancing his endurance by training in Arizona at Athlete's Performance, a training facility that specializes in maximizing the potential of football prospects.
He understands that this is the time of year when those measurables come into play. Height, speed, athleticism and agility. His hope is the training he has endured this offseason parlays into bigger things in April.
"That is what it is all about," says Gibson. "Everyone wants to see what you ran, what you jumped. It is just the way of life. That is how it goes. These are steps you have to make before the draft. It is something we have to do."
The former basketball player – he played two seasons with the Georgia team as a reserve – can fill two roles for a team. Not only is he a wideout who can do some damage, he also has been used as a kick returner with some success.
At the Senior Bowl, Gibson was a steady receiver and saw time returning kicks. He caught the ball well and even earned praise from one of his quarterbacks.
"Fred Gibson does a great job after the catch," Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell said.
For all his work on the field, what he does off the field is just as important this time of year. The Senior Bowl was a chance to get to meet the teams who showed interest in the Georgia receiver and make an impression with his character.
"It starts with all of these meetings, these interviews," Gibson said of the process in Mobile. "I wanted to show them I am not only a great football player but a great person.
"They ask you personal stuff that you have to tell them, like have you ever been arrested. They want to know about your character. Most teams don't want a bad person in their organization so they just want to find out anything about you."
And what does he bring to a team as far as leadership goes?
"You have different leaders, different types of leaders. You have a person that speaks, a person that does his thing on the field and leads by example, you have a whole lot of leaders. I am the type of leader that does it on the field, leads by example."
Gibson hopes he can turn his traits into a high pick in April and lead his new team into the end zone. With so many teams seeking a big play threat, his height and speed would put him at an advantage. Combined with his personality, Gibson sees it as a win-win for the team that selects him.
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