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Monday, August 13, 2012
OL Watch: Gibbons rising in 2014 class

By Corey Long

Midway through spring practice at St. Petersburg (Fla.) Catholic, tight end Reilly Gibbons decided to make the move to the offensive line. Three months later, the 6-foot-6, 265-pound junior has more than a dozen offers with programs such as Nebraska, Tennessee, Missouri, South Florida and North Carolina showing heavy early interest.

For his part, Gibbons said the move wasn't difficult to make and he's happy that the switch was made.

"We really don't throw a lot in the offense so maybe I was getting two balls a game if I were lucky," Gibbons said. "I was blocking from the tight end position for Ryan [Green] anyway so it was a natural transition."

Gibbons hopes that he can provide Green, an ESPN 150 running back committed to Florida State, with even more running room for his senior season.

"Last year Ryan rushed for around 2,000 yards," Gibbons said. "This year I expect he's going to get that and hopefully a lot more. We've got Ryan and a couple of good sophomores at running back so we want to be among the state's top rushing teams."

Gibbons took several unofficial visits over the summer including a trip out west to see USC, Stanford and San Diego State. He also stopped by North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Duke and Miami.

"Each place was a little different," Gibbons added. "One of the main differences is the climate. It was beautiful on the West Coast and I really liked it out there."

The coaches have given Gibbons positive feedback during his visits but now they want to see him play. Blocking for a top back such as Green should give Gibbons plenty of attention this year. After the 2012 season the lineman will likely participate in the Under Armour National Combine.

"The coaches from the bigger programs want to see me dominate the opposition for a couple of games to make sure that I'm the real deal," Gibbons added. "And that's exactly what I plan on doing."

There are several other offensive linemen to keep an eye on during preseason camp:

THE YOUNG STARS

K.C. McDermott, Wellington (Fla.) Palm Beach Central (2014): The 6-5, 285-pound McDermott is arguably the state's top lineman in the 2014 class. McDermott's older brother, Shane, is currently a center for the Miami Hurricanes and that could give Al Golden's group an advantage over time. McDermott finished his summer schedule by taking unofficial visits to Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.

Corey Martinez, Tampa (Fla.) Catholic (2014): It's likely Martinez will stay in state for college and with offers from Miami, Florida State and South Florida, he's got plenty of reason to stick around. The 6-4, 290-pound guard was especially impressive at Florida State and Miami camps this summer.

Ben Triola, Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington (2015): Just a sophomore, the 6-3, 285-pound Triola is in a position to become the next star on a team loaded with talent. This year Triola will play on the opposite side of four-star prospect Denver Kirkland and he should be the leader of the Booker T. line in 2013.

SENIOR SLEEPER

Malik Thompson, Orlando Edgewater: The 6-6, 270-pound Thompson is a former basketball standout who still needs plenty of development. That being said, he showed plenty of natural ability while working out at the Florida State camp despite never playing offensive tackle before. N.C. State, hoping to jump ahead of the pack, is Thompson's first and only offer right now but more should come during the first half of the season.