With a surge in production towards the end of last season, Buckeyes Defensive End Thaddeus Gibson has emerged as the top defensive lineman for Ohio State. A converted Linbacker, Gibson from Euclid, came on big time last year with huge performances against Penn State, Michigan, and Texas. As a big time Linebacker in high school, Thaddeus came to Ohio State with big ambitions. In a stacked Linebackers corps, Gibson was converted to Defensive End, a move that has worked for many athletic pass rushers. His potential showed towards the end of the season in 2008 as Gibson collected 37 tackles, 5 sacks, and a forced fumble for the season. With a 40 time in the 4.5 range, Gibson has all the making of a first round draft pick. He has the speed, strength, athleticism, and potential to make a Mario Williams like impact. Defensive Coordinator Jim Heacock has been stated as saying,
“Thaddeus is a great pass rusher but still needs to work on his run defense. He has steadily improved and texts me several times a day on how he can get better.”
This is a good sign for Ohio State fans who missed the presence of Vernon Gholston last season, and the prayers have been answered. Last year the Linebackers carried the load for the defense and now the line will be counted on to help out the young backers. The line only lost one starter from a season ago in Nader Abdallah, and return DT’s Doug Worthington, Dexter Larimore, Todd Denlinger, and DE’s Thaddeus Gibson, Nathan Williams, Cameron Heyward, Lawrence Wilson, Robert Rose, and freshman newcomer Willie Mobley. The depth in the defensive line is what Heacock is most excited about because with so much experience, when the Buckeyes substitute they wont be missing anything.
Gibson pass rushes like a pro and once he incorporates a better run defense he will be a complete player. Toting #90, the same number he wore in high school, Gibson should have a huge breakout season and should cause problems for Quarterbacks throughout the Big Ten and abroad. The biggest bright spot is the fact that Gibson had five sacks last season while not playing every down. If Heacock can get him on the field for every play, the defense will be that much better. Thaddeus means, “Courageous Heart,” and with his motor, talent, and athleticism he should supply just that to a Buckeyes defense expected to improve this season.