SB FILE / 2006
New Mexico State scored 30 points against UH last year.
Gibson makes his case at safety
STORY SUMMARY »
There's still a possibility true freshman Le'Marcus Gibson might redshirt, given the tremendous amount of depth No. 23 Hawaii has at safety headed into the season that begins Saturday against Northern Colorado at Aloha Stadium.
Catch more updates on the UH Sports Extra blog
But Gibson, who is from Mississippi, has shown enough ability to likely be included on the Warriors' first road trip of the season to Louisiana Tech and UNLV.
"I've been told that's a strong possibility," Gibson said of maybe making the roster for the LaTech game and playing in front of family and friends.
UH defensive backs coach Rich Miano said Gibson is a smart player with a lot of natural talent.
"He got into Vanderbilt, which means he's smart. He's very conscientious and rarely comes back the next day and makes the same mistake if you correct him," Miano said. "Athletically, he reminds me of (former UH safety) Dee Miller, who was also from Mississippi."
The Star-Bulletin will preview Hawaii's opponents every day until the start of the season. See today's story on B3:
San Jose State
New Mexico State
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Freshman safety Le'Marcus Gibson is on Hawaii's No. 2 kickoff and kickoff-return teams.
FULL STORY »
How does a kid from Starkville, Miss., end up in Hawaii?
Via the video game NCAA '07, of course.
|| Northern Colorado
|| at Louisiana Tech*
|| Charleston Southern
||at San Jose State*
|| New Mexico State*
* -- WAC games
Le'Marcus Gibson was playing it last year when he noticed one of the UH starting safeties was a senior.
"I sent them a highlight tape, almost as a joke. I never thought I'd hear from them," Gibson said. "Then I got a call."
Warriors defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold was relentless, while Gibson's home-state schools were lukewarm at best -- despite Gibson's 142 tackles last year at Harrison High School in Gulfport.
Gibson had also played high school ball in Starkville, and done well.
"But Mississippi State doesn't recruit Starkville. They don't recruit in their own backyard," he said.
The Bulldogs, as well as Ole Miss, told the 6-foot, 195-pound Gibson to wait it out, that maybe something would become available. They also suggested he go to a junior college and maybe they'd scholarship him in two years.
Gibson, a full academic qualifier, didn't find that choice appealing. He did get offers from Vanderbilt and Tulsa, but chose Hawaii.
I never thought I'd be here, but I'm glad I came," Gibson said after Saturday's practice. Having a teammate from Mississippi, senior receiver C.J. Hawthorne, helps ease any homesickness, he said.
Gibson has drawn rave reviews all the way up the coaching chain, so that helps, too. The safety position is crowded, but Gibson has shown enough aptitude to play this season as a true freshman. He's also on the No. 2 kickoff and kickoff-return teams and will likely see a good share of playing time Saturday as the No. 23 Warriors open against Northern Colorado.
"I was pretty confident coming in. They told me there was an open spot, so that was good motivation," Gibson said. "I'd rather play a little here and there than redshirt. I'm not ready to sit down yet. If I have to, I'll take it as a good team member and learn the most I can."
What's to improve upon?
"Alignment and assignment. Do that, and play fast and play hard."
The Warriors were set to begin game-week practices today with a 7-9 a.m. session at UH.