Coach: Gibbons Great Player, Better Person
It didn’t take long for Dillan Gibbons to make an impact at Clearwater Central Catholic High School. The Florida offensive lineman, who committed to Notre Dame almost two years ago and signed with the Irish on Wednesday, transferred to Clearwater Central Catholic for his senior season.
“Our left tackle graduated last year and went to Richmond, so we had a spot for that guy,” Clearwater Central Catholic head coach Chris Harvey said. “Of course, it’s not bad when you can replace the guy you had with a guy who is a Notre Dame commit.”
Gibbons’ personality and ability made it easy for him to quickly become a team leader.
“First of all, he’s a first-class kid,” Harvey said. “He sort of threw himself into our program. He’s just a natural leader. He leads by example, works hard. He’s an extreme talent. For a kid his size, he bends well, he runs well. He did everything we asked him to do and more.”
The 6-foot-5, 304-pounder turned heads with his aggression right away.
“When he first got here, he was very tenacious,” said Harvey. “He’s a nasty player. That was sort of an element we didn’t have. We were always known as being a finesse team. We’ve got all kinds of speed guys, all kinds of athletes, but we haven’t had that willingness to get dirty.
“He was probably the dirtiest we had. Him being here made everybody else say, ‘Hey, it’s OK to be that way. It’s the way the game is supposed to be played.’ He brought that extra edge to it.”
Gibbons was able to display that ferocity in multiple ways.
“In certain situations, even late in the season, when it was a close game or to get big plays on the defensive side, we put him on the defensive side,” the coach said. “He came up with some big stops for us over there.”
But he’s able to turn it off when he needs to.
“Everybody says they’re a better person than they are a player, but when you’re as talented of a player as he is, that just goes to show you what kind of person he is,” Harvey said. “He has a great home life. His mom and dad are fabulous. His dad was a volunteer for us in the weight room this year.
“Being a good person to them, just in the one year I’ve known them, takes precedent over anything he can do on the football field. He’s the first guy there, last one to leave and a lot of that has to do with the way he was raised at home.
“They’ve got a close-knit family. It’s a very proud family. Another person in their family’s success is considered their own success and it’s just the way they support and back each other.”