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Opinion: Torrance Gibson’s move to receiver could bolster Ohio State offense

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On Aug. 18, freshman Torrance Gibson announced that he’d be changing positions from quarterback to wide receiver.

With redshirt junior Cardale Jones and redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett duking it out for the starting quarterback job for Ohio State, Gibson figured that it only makes sense that he switch positions.

His future under center is unknown at this point, but nothing has been ruled out quite yet.

“If I have a great season, who knows? But it’s not a worry right now,” Gibson said in an interview with ESPN. “I just have to take it one day at a time, and I’m working at receiver right now, and I haven’t done any quarterback things since I changed position. I’m just going to focus on playing receiver now, then I’ll focus on quarterback.”

Given the Week One suspensions to junior Dontre Wilson and redshirt sophomore Jalin Marshall, both H-backs, as well as redshirt senior wideout Corey Smith, the door is wide open for Gibson to come in and make a substantial impact on the Buckeyes’ offense.

However, it may just be his willingness to contribute in whatever way possible that sets Gibson apart from the crowd.

“Well, I just want to play. I don’t want to sit on the bench for a whole year, just wasting a whole school year. It just doesn’t make any sense,” Gibson said. “Just helping the team out, that’s basically what I am doing. Because if I sat on the bench for a whole year (just to play quarterback), that would be selfish.”

Aside from the invaluable selflessness that he’s putting on full display, Gibson is as versatile as they come and possesses rare athletic abilities, among other traits.

Originally a highly touted dual-threat quarterback coming out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Gibson wowed scouts with his 4.4-second 40-yard dash speed. Considering his incredible leaping ability, coupled with a 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame, it’s easy to see why OSU’s coaches believe Gibson can thrive at receiver.

The former five-star recruit is capable of snaring tough, jump-ball catches away from opposing defenders, while putting his breakaway speed to use in reaching paydirt.

As of right now, there’s no real deep-threat like Gibson in the Buckeyes’ crowded receiving corps. Gone is Devin Smith, who filled that role beautifully last season. Over the course of his senior year, Smith averaged a gaudy 28.2 yards per catch, which was the best in the country by a whole four yards.

OSU coach Urban Meyer said he recognizes the special type of player Gibson can be in OSU’s spread offense.

“Torrance is a guy — we still haven’t found our ‘Inside Nine’ guy — he’s the Devin Smith,” Meyer said of the talented freshman in the ESPN report. “(Gibson) came to me, he realizes it’s going to take at least a year to play quarterback here, especially with what’s in front of him. He said, ‘I want to play.’ I said, ‘Well, here are your options: wildcat quarterback, we’ll see what your skill set is at receiver, catching the ball a little bit,’ and we put him back there returning kicks.”

There’s seemingly no limit as to what Gibson can become. At OSU, he fits the bill as Smith’s replacement and would add instant offense. The suspensions to the many offensive contributors have provided Gibson with a perfect window of opportunity to see significant playing time.

If one day the hyped-up true freshman does indeed decide to return to his natural position of quarterback, that’d obviously be his decision to make. For now, Gibson has a chance to considerably impact the Buckeyes’ offense and help his team repeat as College Football Playoff national champions.

Gibson and the rest of the Scarlet and Gray are set to begin their title defense against the Virginia Tech Hokies on Sept. 7 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.

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