U.S. Army All-American quarterback Torrance Gibson, committed to Ohio State since November, was so secretive leading up to his college announcement Wednesday morning he wasn’t just denying interview requests with the media, he was also avoiding his coaches.
“He’s not talking with anyone — not even me,” American Heritage coach Mike Rumph quipped Tuesday when the Miami Herald asked for a chance to speak with the 6-4, 204-pound, four-star, dual-threat quarterback.
Well, Gibson’s big secret final got out Wednesday. The No. 3-rated recruit in the Miami-Dade-Broward area is still heading to Columbus, Ohio, to play for the defending national champions.
Even after spending the last three weeks taking official visits to Auburn, LSU and the hometown Miami Hurricanes, nothing could convince the two-time state-championship-winning passer to give up on the Buckeyes.
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“I made the final decision a few days ago,” said Gibson, who threw for 1,953 yards, 21 touchdowns and three interceptions and ran for 1,002 yards and 13 scores as a senior. “I talked it over with my family. I think Ohio State is the right place for me.”
Wearing a red bow-tie and suspenders, Gibson made the announcement in front of teammates, family and friends in his school auditorium shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday.
“There were a lot of people coming at me saying ‘You should stay home, put your city back on the map,’ ” Gibson said. “But like my family said, there’s nothing left for me in Miami. They wanted me to try a different atmosphere.”
Five-star cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, a 6-2, 198-pound fellow U.S. Army All-American, signed with Florida State as expected. He had been committed to the Seminoles since Halloween and never wavered.
“Florida State was just the place I wanted to be,” McFadden said. “Florida State only recruits the best. They’re recruiting great players out of South Florida. Personally, I feel South Florida has the best talent around. I’m excited about the opportunity to go play for national championships.”
In all, a dozen seniors on the Patriots’ back-to-back state titles signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.
Three others signed with Football Bowl Subdivision programs: receiver Janarvis Pough (6-0, 172) with Bowling Green, safety Christian Irving (6-0, 205) with Wyoming and linebacker Anthony Flory (6-2, 225) with Appalachian State.
Others to sign: offensive tackles Brett Kahn (Brown) and Noah Bringas (FIT), safety Nick Peart (Dartmouth), cornerbacks Deonta Fair (Monmouth) and Dilan Thomas (Eastern Kentucky), tight end Marc Kazden (John Hopkins) and running back Travis Jackson (Ave Maria).
Cornerback Tyler Gordon (FAU) and linebacker Andre Jumper (Florida State) are going to college as preferred walk-ons.
“I feel like as a varsity team we prepare our kids for the next level,” Rumph said. “These kids did everything right academically and athletically. We couldn’t be prouder as a school.”
Several other Heritage athletes signed with colleges Wednesday: Golfer Jorge Garcia (Florida); Jody Julmice (Louisville) for lacrosse; baseball stars David Villar (South Florida), Justin Lamazares (Campbell), Richard Cruz (FIU), Corey Lorenzo (Robert Morris), Chase Reyes (Creighton), Justin Hernandez (Palm Beach Atlantic) Alec Kushner (MIT); soccer players Wayne Campbell (Jacksonville), Mikael Dasilva (UConn), Donovan Henry (FAU), Julia Jaffee (Brandeis), Julia Kingsley (NYU), Melanie Monteagudo (Florida), Ashley Loeza (Campbell) and Alyssa Rodriguez (Radford).