The suspension of young players can stifle the growth of football teams trying to restock after the loss of multiple starters. Ohio State will be attempting to replace 16 starters this season, and the team learned Monday it will be without a wide receiver.
Redshirt freshman Torrance Gibson received a yearlong suspension Monday due to a violation of the university’s student code of conduct. The announcement was made prior to a weekly presser by OSU coach Urban Meyer.
Gibson took a redshirt last season after injuring his ankle. It was rumored another key factor in the decision was problems with Gibson in the classroom.
The 6-foot-5 former quarterback was expected to spend meaningful time on the field this season. During the spring game, Gibson caught two touchdowns for the Gray team.
Although violations by players are normally handled by the athletic department, violations of the student code are handled by the university. The Buckeyes coach does not care for the suspension.
“It was not the athletic department or football,” Meyer said. “And I disagree with it.”
Gibson was not expected to be in the starting lineup, but the loss of a reserve wide receiver puts pressure on a unit where depth is a concern.
The most experienced wide receivers, redshirt senior Corey Smith and redshirt sophomore Noah Brown, will be taking the bulk of the snaps at wideouts. The rest of the spots at the position remain up in the air.
Even without the lineup solidified, Meyer is confident in the unit in terms of quality available players.
“We’ll know more, obviously, Saturday,” Meyer said. “But we have depth at receiver.”
Meyer also said his staff has seen this kind of scenario before.
“It’s not unique,” Meyer said. “We have dealt with it.”
Gibson is a former five-star prospect from Plantation, Florida. During his high school career, Gibson posted 44 passing touchdowns, along with 28 rushing touchdowns. After being told there was little chance of playing quarterback at OSU, Gibson was approached by the Buckeye coaching staff to discuss a position switch, which led to Gibson becoming a wide receiver.
Offensive coordinator Ed Warinner was hesitant to say how he felt about the suspension of the wide receiver, and deferred the question to the statements made by Meyer earlier.
Warinner said Meyer’s thoughts reflected those of the staff’s.
The timing of the suspension comes at a unique moment for the redshirt freshman. Gibson has little experience at his new position, and will miss crucial playing time.
The university has yet to explain why Gibson was suspended for a year.
Warinner said he hopes the fallout from the suspension is minimal.
“I hope the best for Torrance. He is an awesome young man. We love him,” Warinner said. “He’s worked hard here, and I hope everything works out where he could someday be a Buckeye again and play for us.”