Know The Athlete Part 1 ~ Derius Gibson

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You are in the Jacket Nest waiting for the offense to make a play. The Jacket Regiment is blasting out bone crusher and the student section is making as much noise as possible. Special Teams is on the field, Parker Baxley is about to punt and Derius Gibson number 33 is the up back waiting to block. Everyone thought they knew what was going to happen next: a fake punt attempt. As the ball is snapped into number 33’s hands he takes off down the field to give the Jackets another touchdown. The announcer says “number 33 Derius Gibson scored on a faked field goal attempt giving the Jackets another touchdown”. You may know number 33 as the football player, but do you know number 33 off the field? Do you know him as the star running back making his goal every game to rush 100 yards or the boy who never stops running until he is on the ground? 

When you think about the name Derius Gibson what words come to mind? Does your brain replay the announcer’s voice saying he made another touchdown? Do you see a picture-perfect football jock, or do you see the high school senior who plays his best on and off the field? No matter how you view him, this article is written for you to understand and know the athlete as well as the man.  

As I sat down with Derius, he told me about how he started his love for sports. He started playing sports when he was six years old. He played travel baseball for the Smith Painters in Columbia. He told me that he was just having fun as he played defense, first base, and outfield. It was not until he was in third grade that his mom and grandma got him interested in football. At first he would play but quit playing it. When I asked him what made him quit, he comments simply that ” I didn’t like getting hit.” While he attended Paul Knox Middle School, he tried out for their team but quit because he did not receive the position of quarterback. Since he knew he was good, he went back to playing rec ball.  In the eighth grade, he received the position of quarterback and reaffirmed he was good at the quarterback position. The focus at that time was to beat NAMS.   

Progressing into high school, Derius noticed the attention he was getting, and people even started to call him the “Golden Boy”. “Everything blew up Sophomore year” Derius stated during the interview. When I question him about who he thinks the fans come to see, he answers humbly: “They came to watch the team, not just me because I’m not the team”. On game day he admits that he has no focus and he that Friday mornings are the best and worst. It is game day and people always want to know about the upcoming game plan while talking on the phone asking too many questions. “They always ask what are you going to do, do you think you’re going to win but I always answer you have come to the game and see”. He enjoys “High Five Fridays” the most because he gets to go to the local elementary and middle schools to greet students. No game day would not be complete without a Tweet from him about the upcoming game. Before the game, he can be found on the field throwing the ball around with Landon Washington and DeJaun Bell. Derius confesses that he always gets butterflies in his stomach while he waits in the inflated helmet before running out on the field. He also prays for his cousin who passed away before every game. During the game he never drinks water, doesn’t have a mouthpiece with him, and when he is on the sideline he strives to support the whole team. He shares that “None of the games have the same environment”.  I asked Derius about how the Mondays following a game are and he comments that “If we win we love to talk about but if we lost we don’t talk at all.”   

I questioned him on his thoughts about the “Jock Stereotype” and he replies “People think that being a jock means your dumb and that I put the game before school, but you don’t get to college without it”. As a person, he sees himself as outgoing-he could go up to someone and will start talking to them because that how he is. When he makes new friends, he asks them to go to the game and always hangs out with different people after the game. He commented that the people that know him can see that he has changed through out the years because he is more relaxed and open. He hopes one day that he will not have any fake friends though.  Additionally the attention of the girls in addition to the other attention he has received is one thing that did not go unnoticed. “If you’re an athlete you’re going to want some attention”. This attention was something he did not think about before, because he is not a cocky person. He gave the following advice: “If you are trapped in the spotlight, everybody is not going to be there when it is gone.”  In his personal life he tries to stay out of the drama, it goes away if you do not get into it. His thoughts on relationships were very clear.  From experience he knows how hard they can be, it is how you make. The main point he focused on was paying attention and trust issues. When something like that is in his head on game day he takes it out on the field whether it is running someone over or putting points on the score board.  

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