UH loses top safety prospect
Expectations were high for Le'Marcus Gibson, a young safety once described by a Hawaii coach as a potential four-year starter.
But Gibson told the Star-Bulletin yesterday that he is home in Mississippi and will not return to UH.
"Right now I'm thinking about going to a JC," the 6-foot, 195-pound Gibson said in a telephone interview from his home in Starkville. "Nothing against Hawaii. I just think it's a more comfortable situation here for me."
As a true freshman last fall, Gibson played on special teams in the season-opening game against Northern Colorado and tore the ACL in his left knee, requiring surgery. He was still rehabilitating it during spring practice, but did participate in some individual drills.
UH's safety situation is crowded this fall, with returning starters Keao Monteilh and Desmond Thomas and potential starters Mana Silva and Erik Robinson. Still, Gibson was expected to compete for playing time in fall camp and his future was considered very bright.
He chose Hawaii over offers from Vanderbilt and Tulsa. His hometown school, Mississippi State, suggested he go to a junior college out of high school.
Gibson said he missed home.
"The knee's getting to 100 percent now, so it's nothing to do with that," Gibson said. "I enjoyed Hawaii, but yes, there was a lot of homesickness for me and that's a factor in this."
A source said the same was true for speedy wide receiver Eric Shaffer, who is leaving UH without having played a down.
Shaffer put up big numbers in high school football in Fayetteville, Ark., and was a state sprint champ with a 10.57 in the 100 meters.
He redshirted last year, and got quite a few reps at slotback in spring practice last month.
Gibson and Shaffer are among several scholarship players leaving the program following the end of spring practice. Junior linebacker Erik Pedersen and freshman running back Korey Reynolds are also gone. The transferring players will count against UH's Academic Progress Report rankings, but they do free up scholarships for other players, including some projected starters.