Torrance Gibson may have left Ohio State, but he’s not leaving the state of Ohio.
Back in August, it was announced that Gibson had been suspended for the entire 2016 season, a suspension with which Urban Meyer didn’t agree. In December, even as Gibson signed with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, the head coach left the door open for the wide receiver’s return.
That appears to have since been shut as Gibson tells ESPN.com that he has committed to Cincinnati and will play for new Bearcats head coach and former Buckeyes defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. Instead of MGCCC, though, Gibson is enrolled at Cincinnati State in pursuit of an associate’s degree that would allow him to play for UC in 2017.
“I’m confident about what is happening in the Queen City,” Gibson told the website. “I’m just ready to roll.”
A four-star 2015 recruit, Gibson was rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 12 player at any position in the state of Florida. Coming to OSU as a dual-threat quarterback, Gibson was moved to wide receiver. At least at first, Fickell will move Gibson back to quarterback.
Marshon Lattimore becomes sixth Buckeye, third OSU DB to leave early for 2017 NFL draft
Ohio State’s defensive backfield has taken yet another hit, albeit a largely expected one.
Following in the footsteps of others, Marshon Lattimore announced via Twitter that he will be leaving OSU early and making himself available for the April NFL draft. The cornerback would’ve had two years of eligibility remaining had he decided to return.
A redshirt sophomore in 2016, Lattimore tied for second on the Buckeyes in interceptions with four. That total was also tied for sixth in the Big Ten, and he was named first-team all-Conference by the coaches after the regular season.
His first two seasons in Columbus were marred by leg injuries that, after surgery, caused him to take a redshirt his true freshman season and sidelined him for nearly half of 2015.
The other of the trio of defensive backs who are leaving early are cornerback Gareon Conley (HERE) and safety Malik Hooker (HERE). Linebacker Raekwon McMillan (HERE), wide receiver Noah Brown (HERE) and running back/wide receiver Curtis Samuel (HERE).
USC QB Sam Darnold, Houston DL Ed Oliver headline FWAA Freshman All-America Team
USC quarterback Sam Darnold and Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver were the stars of the FWAA’s Freshman All-America Team for the 2016 season, and Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente and USC head coach Clay Helton shared the award for First Year Coach of the Year.
Fuente is coming off his first season as the head coach at Virginia Tech after a successful stint as head coach at Memphis, with an ACC Coastal Division championship and appearance in the ACC Championship Game. Helton overcame a rough start to coach USC into a top 10 finish and a Rose Bowl victory over Big Ten champion Penn State. Both have been head coaches before, of course, but the FWAA First Year Coach of the Year is open to any coach in his first full season as a head coach at his current school.
Samuel was the only player at the FBS level to have at least 700 yards receiving (865) and rushing (771) this year, while scoring eight touchdowns on the ground and seven through the air. The Associated Press tapped the Brooklyn, NY, native as a first-team All-American following the 2016 season.
With the departure of Samuel today along with wide receiver Noah Brownover the weekend, K.J. Hill (18 catches, 262 yards) will be the Buckeyes’ leading returning wide receiver in 2017.
In addition to Samuel and Brown, cornerback Gareon Conley (HERE), safety Malik Hooker (HERE) and linebacker Raekwon McMillan (HERE) have all declared early for the draft.
The Buckeyes did get some good news on the early-entry front as Tyquan Lewis, the Big Ten’s Defensive Lineman of the Year, confirmed that he will be returning to school for another season.
Ohio State’s first three early departures for the 2017 NFL draft were somewhat expected. Their fourth will likely raise an eyebrow or two.
On his personal Twitter account Saturday night, Noah Brown surprisingly announced that he has “decided to forego my remaining years of eligibility and will be declaring for the 2017 NFL draft.” A redshirt sophomore, the wide receiver would’ve had two years of eligibility remaining.
After playing in 13 games as a true freshman in 2014, and catching one pass for nine yards, Brown missed the entire 2015 season because of a significant leg injury. Returning in 2016, the 6-2, 218-pound receiver was second on the team with 32 catches for 402 yards, and tied for the team lead with seven receiving touchdowns.
Four of those touchdowns came in the win over Oklahoma in Week 3. One of those scores was a thing of beauty.
The first of the three Buckeyes to declare early were all defensive players — cornerback Gareon Conley (HERE), safety Malik Hooker (HERE) and linebacker Raekwon McMillan (HERE).