"Tonight we were reminded that Michigan is five years further down the road. Which means we have a long road ahead. The State Farm Center renovations start in a few hours and will run for three years. Let’s hope that when they’re complete, we’re Michigan."
Brendan Gibbons was Michigan's second choice at kicker after Penn State (and onetime Michigan) commit Anthony Fera. Fera may be rated higher, but has he ever smoked some fool?
Eh… maybe. Fera's a pretty big dude for a kicker. But it's not on the internet so screw that guy in the ear.
Kickers, who tend to melt down at the slightest provocation, are almost fruitless to project but Michigan might be better at picking out their guys than most since former M kicker Brandon Kornblue has begun carving a career for himself as a guru in the field. Kornblue held a bunch of camps and reported back positively on Gibbons:
For the first time this summer, the Kornblue Kicking School, run by former U-M kicker Brandon Kornblue, was Michigan’s primary camp for evaluating kicker prospects. The camp attracted some of the nation’s elite prospects. The top performer at the June 29-30 camp, according to Kornblue, was West Palm Beach (Fla.) Cardinal Neumann’s Brendan Gibbons.
Michigan duly offered and, as is usual when it comes to specialists, the offer was quickly accepted.
Gibbons's got a bigger leg than Michigan kickers of the recent past, having hit a 52-yarder in high school. Rivals says he possesses the third-strongest leg in the class. And though kicking guru Chris Sailer has a vested interest in pumping up one of his proteges, he echoes the big leg stuff:
He has a huge leg and gets the ball up well. Kicks off the ground for FG's and off the 1" for kickoffs. One of the strongest legs in the nation.
He gets into his field goals quickly and has smooth tempo. Powerful leg and has kicked several field goals over 40 yards including a 52 yarder. Kickoffs average about 5 yards deep with good hang of about 4.0 seconds.
The 6-1, 205-pound Gibbons has had a strong senior season, converting 10 of 12 field goals with a long of 52 yards. He also has hit 93 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks, and most go out the back of the end zone. Gibbons leg strength is one of his best assets and he expects he'll be able to show it off early at Michigan.
"I hope I can start right away; that's my goal," he said. "I'm pretty sure both their kickers are seniors and that's what they want me to do, so I'll do it. Coach Rodriguez said I might have a shot at punting too."
That 93% touchback number is based on a higher tee and kicks from the 40, so don't expect that to be replicated at Michigan.
He at one point noted Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the MVP of last year’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl who had a drawn-out recruiting process that ultimately came down to the Buckeyes and Wolverines, “should be wearing blue.”
Gibbons isn’t just all show, though. He was consistently booming the ball on field goals and kickoffs during practice.
Brendan Gibbons is the East kicker, and Shrive said he was teeing the ball up at the opposite 45-yard line and booting the thing through the uprights and onto the running track beyond the field. That's a 65-yarder with some distance to spare.
"Our kicker is nasty," Shrive raved.
So: Gibbons can kick it far indeed, and has at least two folks very much in his corner—you'll note Tom Lemming's ranking above. Michigan clearly preferred Fera, though, and so there were probably some consistency issues Gibbons had that Fera lacked. Either way he should be better than the dual-headed walk-ons of the past couple years. Or maybe not. This is a kicker, after all.
Gibbons kind of looks like John Cena, for some reason. Looks like a decent kicker, and having seen first hand how fickle kickers can be on a week-by-week basis (having known Philip Brabbs - he of the Huskies last-second FG and nothing else), I imagine that either Gibbons or Fera would be a crapshoot. Still, I like his size, and being able to boot a 52-yard, wind or no wind, is still really impressive for a high school kid.
Kicking is not sexy, but it can be the difference in a game. Not sure why we never had better focus or execution with our special teams in the past. We could use an edge here. Mesko is a wonderful exception to previous performance.
...who thinks that the value of punters and kickers are way under-rated. Some of these kickers are the highest point scorers for their respective school's history. And having a punter that can get it inside the 20 (or 10) is extremely valuable.
More time and effort (and scholarships) need to be given to these legful assets.
Is it too much to ask that Gibbons handle field goals and punting or field goals and kick offs. Would the Michigan football hating Gods allow us to have two positions nailed down by a good kicker all at once? Hoping so....
You know, as exciting as that hit was, I just noticed that punt was off of a kinda nasty snap, and that thing went from about the 13 to the 14 at the other end. I'll take a guy who can punt it 73 yards any day.
The PR ran right into Gibbons as though he was expecting a weak shove out of bounds. It's not like Gibbons is some huge guy (6-0/202 isn't all that big) ... the way the guy bounced off him reminds me of some of the hits McGuffie took.
In HS 6' and 200 lbs is on the large side, especially when you are going against a returner who is likely of the small/quick variety. Remember, most of the HS players talked about on this site are going to play D1 football but they are a tiny fraction of all HS players. Most competition they face isn't that big/good.
other than the 73 yd punt and subsequent beat-down of the return kid...
The best part of the video is where the return-kid's laying on the ground and Gibbons is towering over him running apparent smack...and the return-kid's coach steps in to say "get away from us you bully"... lol.
This guy had to watch film of that hit and get made fun of by his coaches, all his friends, and probably whoever was at the game as well. To pile on the embarassment, this is now on the internet and will be something his kids will find when they google their dad. That's the kind of smack down that your teamates will never let you forget. It looked like BG got his helmet right under this poor fool's chin. OUCH!!! I'll take a kicker like that all day and twice on tuesday.
The last kicker I remember UM getting from Palm Beach County was pretty good: Remy Hamilton of Spanish River in Boca.
Kicking in South Florida is almost like resistance training because the air is heavy from low altitude and high humidity, and the leather in the footballs also absorbs some of the humidity. The footballs compress a little better because of the heat, but not enough to make up for the other factors.
This doesn't add up to a lot, but every yard counts, especially on FG attempts.