August 18, 2006

Jordan Gibbs: An ideal player for Pitt

Pitt commitment Jordan Gibbs may be the ideal player when Pitt fans think of that hard-nosed, mean-streak of a kid that they compare to the tough gritty attitude they want of their Panthers, year-in, year-out. Jordan Gibbs gave the Panthers' coaching staff a fall camp welcoming gift by committing last Monday, but after talking to his high school coach Bob Forgrave, it should be no surprise that no other school was in the running. Gibbs is a two-sport standout in football and basketball, and he enters his senior season at 6-7, 300 pounds.

"Jordan is in the mold of a (Scott) Zolak or a (Nelson) Walker," Forgrave said. "He can play at the next level. The kid is first-team all-league in football and basketball. When I came in here, I knew he was raw as a football player. I saw enough of him on film, making some plays. He's got soft hands. He was 270, and now he's 300, and he runs very well. For a long time, he was going to play college basketball. Now, with the attention he's received in football, he has changed his mind. I tell coaches, watch him play basketball, and you don't need any (football) film on him. "

"I am a (Dave) Wannstedt disciple," Forgrave said. "I started playing his type of football in 1989, 1990. (Wannstedt) is going to play a style of defense similar to what (Bill) Cowher plays. He wants to be physical, run the ball and have a physical defense. It takes awhile to get that kind of kid in your defense I don't know how you can find a better football coach than him. He's surrounded himself with a great staff. He's doing other things other coaches don't do. He's putting the time in, and is real personal I think for any Pennsylvania kid to be able to go to Pitt, play in the Big East, your parents can see you play anytime."

Forgrave also feels it's that defensive mentality, a connection with the coaches, the facilities and a close distance to home were all factors in Gibbs' commitment.

"(Gibbs) was all set to go play college basketball somewhere," Forgrave added. "He had an offer from Virginia, and one from Illinois. He had some other Big Ten offers, but when it came down to it, he said a long time ago he wanted to go to Pitt. I expect him to be a Big 33 player. I expect him to be one of the best players in Pennsylvania. I tried to play a little more two-platoon. He played some defense last year, but this year, he'll play nose."

"We play Manheim Township (Pat Bostick) in the last week of the year," Forgrave said. "That will be a fun game for Pitt fans to keep and eye on. It's November 3rd, at our place. (Millersville University Stadium)."

Tony Greco can be contacted at

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