Four-star Jayden Gibson found the right fit at Oklahoma

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Four-star receiver Jayden Gibson committed to Florida in mid-October. It is a legacy of the Gators. Gainesville is less than two hours from his home. It all made sense.

But about a month later, then coach Dan Mullen he was fired shortly after Billy Napier he was hired from Louisiana and Gibson’s recruitment saw unexpected changes he couldn’t imagine.

The new Florida staff asked several potential clients – including commits – for a short training video. Gibson said he was in complete agreement with that request. But it became clear at the Winter Garden (Fla.) West Orange standout that the Gators were going in a different direction when he never heard from the new head coach.

“(Napier) was asking people to train and send training videos,” Gibson said here at the Under Armor All-America Game practices. “I didn’t necessarily have a problem with that, but he wasn’t delivering the message either. I haven’t talked to Napier, not even once. Never talked to him before. He was having the message delivered to the recruiting assistants. He never called me.

“In my mind, I’m not important to him, so I’ll just disengage. No one on the new staff contacted me or spoke to me, so obviously they didn’t want me. There’s no point in waiting and staying busy when I have so many other great school options to go to. I thought it was the best decision to just disengage.

Gibson wasn’t the only one.

Numerous engagements from the then Florida reopened their hires, the feeling among many of them was that Napier wanted to move from many commitments under the Dan Mullen regime and start over. It’s a common move when new staff arrive in town, but it’s still a challenge for busy players as the early acquisition period approaches.

“It wasn’t an ‘me’ thing,” Gibson said. “A lot of us committed to Mullen and (Napier) didn’t want us there. In the two weeks since my disengagement and I was looking at everyone who was recruiting and it wasn’t any of the same dudes except the five stars that everyone will recruit regardless. For four-star guys, three-star guys was a completely different thing.

“I wasn’t angry about it. If only he had contacted me and said, ‘We are trying to go in a different direction’, I would agree but he didn’t say anything. I don’t know what they expected me to do. “

On December 8, Gibson reopened his recruiting. Oklahoma recruited him the hardest, but the four-star receiver spoke to Texas A&M, South Carolina, Miami, Clemson, and others.

Some programs wanted Gibson to wait to enroll until after January, but he wanted to come earlier. The Sooners offered him everything he was looking for, so a visit to Norman was arranged.

And the four-star receiver loved it.

“I went out there and made the official visit,” Gibson said. “They lack size in their receivers, so it’s great to go in and play with all the other big boys they have there. In addition, the technical staff, coach (Cale) Gundy, trainer (Jeff) Lebby, trainer (Brent) Venables, they are three great coaches and three great people. I also really like them as people.

“It worked. It has a good feeling. It feels like a place where I can live, thrive and go to school. I didn’t want to go to a place where I could only play football there and the rest of my time would be useless. There are so many other opportunities and things you can get into, so it was pretty cool. “

At Flower Mound, Texas, then Florida quarterback Nick Evers was facing a similar situation. It looked like the Gators were moving out of the four star and Evers needed a home too.

Gibson and Evers have teamed up. They were going to visit Oklahoma the same weekend. And now they will be roommates in Norman.

“Oklahoma started recruiting us and we both saw a good opportunity and talked about it and we were like, ‘Let’s go there and see what it’s like and see what it’s like,'” Gibson said.

“We wanted to go together and he will be my roommate. That’s cool. He is my boyfriend”.

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