By Alex Norman
If you are a Tennessee football fan that pays attention to recruiting, the odds are you know about Torrance Gibson.
According to 247 Sports, Gibson is a “dual–threat quarterback” that is considered to be the 14th best recruit in the nation, and the number one “athlete” in the Class of 2015.
He is listed at 6’ 4” and 200 pounds, and led American Heritage School (Plantation, Fla.) to a Class 5A state title in 2013.
Anyone and everyone has offered Gibson a scholarship, including the Tennessee Volunteers. Butch Jones and company didn’t sign a quarterback in the Class of 2014, and are in desperate need of someone like Gibson at that position, even if there are still questions about where he will line up at the next level.
Gibson says that Tennessee is in his Top 7 schools remaining, along with Auburn, LSU, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Miami and Central Florida. He has also stated that Auburn and Tennessee are currently the leaders for his services.
Do a search on the interwebs for his highlights and you can see he has all the physical tools to be a star in college, and possibly in the pros someday.
This has caused some fans to lose their collective minds.
Gibson writes a blog for USA Today High School Sports, and relayed this message last week.
“Of course there are a lot of fans that want me to go to their school and so I get a lot of messages on Twitter telling me why certain schools are the perfect fit for me. The craziest message I got was from some guy who said he’d get naked and run around in the street if I committed to his school. I couldn’t believe it. I was just thinking I definitely don’t want to see that one! But it’s cool to have great fans that care about their school that much.”
Translation: People are insane.
If you do a search on twitter you’ll find football fans sending messages to Gibson imploring him to choose Tennessee… or Auburn… or Ohio State…. (Those three fan bases have the most representation in a completely unscientific look at Gibson’s mentions).
This is a teenager trying to make an important decision as to the spot he’ll spend the next few years. And there are full grown adults putting pressure on him… adults that Gibson has never met.
The internet of course has changed all the rules… now we feel like we have a close connection to people when we really don’t. I enjoy twitter and Facebook as much as the next person, and have “friends” that I’ve never been in the same room with…
But I can’t imagine taking the time to make a request that an athlete choose my school because I know his twitter handle.
Back in the day people used to find out the phone numbers and addresses of high school athletes. And they still do, which is equally if not more disturbing. The internet has taken stalking to a completely new level.
If you really want to lose your faith in humanity, wait until Gibson makes his decision known (he says that he will not be committing to a school early).
When that day comes, some of the same people sending him well wishes with a #VFL or #WarEagle hashtag will be sending messages filled with vulgarity and hate.
All because a kid decided he wanted to go to a different school.
Look, I understand the passion of sports fans. I know how badly you want your team to win. Some of my best memories have come when the team I root for wins a championship.
But there’s a fine line between supporting your team, and being a crazy person.
Too many fans are on the wrong side of that line these days…