31 July 2008
Brandon Gibson - #11 – WR – 6-1 – 196 lbs. – Mobile, AL – UMS-Wright – Redshirt
Given Bama’s experienced depth at the Wide Receiver position in 2007 it is not a shock that Brandon redshirted. And with all of the talk of Darius Hanks
and Bama’s 2 incoming receivers Julio Jones
& B.J. Scott
, Brandon has become the forgotten man.
That happens a lot at schools like Alabama, where the new guy’s High School reputation, and the excitement that comes with it can overshadow a young player currently on the roster, especially one who left the consciousness of the general fan base by not playing last year.
Brandon was an important signee for Bama in 2007. Much has been made about Alabama “taking back Mobile” during its #1 ranked 2008 signing class, and there should have been – many of Bama’s top players from that signing class came from the Mobile area. But Brandon is also from Mobile, and was one of the nation’s top 100 recruits in 2007. Signing of player of his caliber from that area is not something that had happened for Bama in recent years, and it likely went a long way towards re-opening the door to the Gulf Coast for the Tide coaching staff in 2008.
: There is likely more competition for the outside receiver positions than any other position on the field. With returning starter Mike McCoy
seemingly entrenched on one side as the starter, the battle for the opposite side includes Earl Alexander
, Nikita Stover
, Will Oakley
, Julio Jones
, Chris Jackson
, & Brandon.
health is still in question and Stover is more likely to play in slot, but that still leaves stiff competition for Brandon from 3 other players. Starting at WR isn’t quite the same the same as starting at QB, because there is likely to be a heavy rotation of 3-5 guys at the 2 outside receiver positions.
Brandon isn’t blessed with game breaking speed or enormous size, so he has to make use of good, quality route running and sure hands. We didn’t see much of him on A-Day, just 2 catches for 21 yards, though it’s tough to really judge a guy based on 1 day’s performance in a scrimmage.
How much playing time he sees will likely depend on how well he is able to do the other things required of receivers, specifically blocking for the running game. That was considered one of his strengths in High School, so I expect he’ll be able to do that at this level as well.
There is tremendous talent at the WR position at Alabama, though very little of it is experienced. It is important to remember that Brandon is a redshirt freshman, and some players take more than 1 year to become major contributors. He’s taken over the #11 jersey from Matt Caddell
who didn’t become a major part of Bama’s passing offense until half way through his Junior season.
There is certainly the opportunity for a young player to seize playing time in the rotation and become a “go to guy” in the passing offense. Whether Brandon is ready to become that player is hard to tell based on the little we’ve seen of him. I expect the battle for playing time in the receiver rotation to continue throughout the 2008 season.