Update July 21: James Gibson committed to play football at Army this evening.
James Gibson may not be the highest rated recruit coming from Virginia in the Class of 2015, but he doesn’t care. It’s for him to decide how good he is, he says.
The Chantilly, Virginia resident and Westfield High School rising senior is just focused on finding the right school for him. Everything else will fall into place after that.
“I don’t want to go to a football school. I don’t want to go to an academic school. I want to go to a great school,” Gibson said.
In a phone interview on Monday night, the safety said Army is the school that meets these criteria the best.
“With the Army-Navy game, it’s really something special. Their home games have a great atmosphere,” Gibson said.
While he has only seen their athletic facilities, which he describes as “very nice,” Gibson hopes to see more of the campus before he makes his decision.
The 6-1 safety really likes Army, but is nervous about selecting them as his school.
“Going to West Point isn’t easy. Once you get there it isn’t easy. They have a lot of pride surrounding their football team. You have to beat Navy. They expect a lot from you,” Gibson said.
He doesn’t mind being pushed hard. His favorite coaches in the past have pushed him hard. He is ready to be pushed at West Point.
The other two schools at the top of his list: James Madison and William and Mary.
After going 6-6 last season, Gibson sees JMU’s football program going in a new direction. This new direction is off the field as well as on the field.
When he was there in his sophomore year, he didn’t like it. He didn’t think there was a “buzz” surrounding the team. That has changed.
“This summer when I went I really liked what they changed. I feel really comfortable on the campus,” Gibson said. ” I noticed a lot of people were hanging out around the football facilities, so [the buzz] is definitely there now.”
After talking to players from each of the schools, Gibson believes JMU students are the happiest. This happiness combined with the buzz is important to him.
“I don’t want to play for a down program. I don’t want to play somewhere that football is not important to them. I want to be part of something special and have fun for the four or five years I am there,” Gibson said.
Gibson and the JMU coaches talk every few days. He describes their relationship as “really close.”
William and Mary, as the third team on Gibson’s list, are contenders because of their academics. Gibson likes that they win a lot of games in the CAA, but since he has not been down for a visit, he finds it difficult to assess how he feels about the school.
Gibson plans on making his decision before the season starts on August 4th.
Once the decision is made, he wants to focus on his senior season. He will look to finish what he started last year after his team lost in the regional finals.
He is looking to bring a championship with him to whichever school he chooses.