- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
Detroit Cass Tech defensive tackle Kenton Gibbs is looking for a football family and not so much a football program, and he is feeling the love from a few schools and coaches already.
The 6-foot-1, 280-pound lineman has offers from Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Northern Illinois and Toledo. Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State and Wisconsin are also showing interest.
One coach who has really impressed Gibbs thus far is Fighting Illini defensive line coach Keith Gilmore, a holdover from Ron Zook’s staff.
“The cool thing about coach Gilmore is he just talks life,” Gibbs said. “He asks me how my grades are doing and how my family’s doing. … That means a lot. A coach that sees me as a player, prospect, number, I don’t want to play for that guy. OK if something happens to me would you care? No, you’d cut me out of the program and move on.
“Coach Gilmore cares about the player but also shows he cares about the person.”
Gibbs received a similar feeling when hanging out with the players. He was impressed at the locker room camaraderie.
“What I liked the most is the players, it seems like a family environment,” he said. “Some places the locker rooms feel like they’re coworkers, like they’re in a business. In that locker room, I felt like they were brothers.”
Two weeks ago, Gibbs made a trip to another place that truly impressed him off of the field. Gibbs toured Wisconsin and got a first-hand look as to why the Badgers have so few scholarships to give out in the 2013 class.
“Coach [Bret] Bielema said when players go to Wisconsin that they don’t leave. They only have nine scholarships because no one leaves,” Gibbs said. “You don’t drop out or get into trouble. I love that about Wisconsin.”
Bielema expressed to Gibbs the plan is to only take one defensive tackle, so the staff will be judicious with offers at the position.
“Coach Bielema said they’re not big enough on the inside, so I’m down for the cause,” Gibbs said with a smile. “I definitely plan on camping at Wisconsin this summer to see if I can get that scholarship.”
449dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert