All eyes will be on the quarterback position at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College this fall.
The Bulldogs return veteran Larry Sisson as a redshirt sophomore but also added former Ohio State signee Torrance Gibson this offseason, creating at least a touch of drama as MGCCC opened camp Monday.
“I like our position right now. I like our situation,” Gulf Coast coach Chad Huff said after the team’s first practice Monday. “We have Larry coming back, who ended up starting the rest of the season last year and winning some football games and leading us to the playoffs. The addition of Torrance Gibson here has been great. It has made Larry better and Torrance is picking the offense up and learning.
“Both are real competitors, good teammates and pushing each other every day in the meeting room.”
A year ago, Kalen Whitlow started out the year as QB-1 in Perkinston only to see Sisson lead the Bulldogs through an important late-season stretch and into the playoffs. The Resurrection graduate finished the year with 1,006 yards and five touchdowns while completing 61.5 percent of his passes.
Now Gibson presents another imposing challenger at quarterback as a former prep All-American. The 6-foot-5 southpaw didn’t see playing time in 2015 as freshman after moving to receiver and was later suspended by OSU for the 2016 season. Gibson opted to transfer, originally attempting to enroll at Cincinnati before landing at Gulf Coast this summer.
“This is a great program,” Gibson said when asked what brought him to the Coast. “I think it can compete with some of the D1 schools out there; the facilities, the coaches, just people around here are real nice and treat me like family. That’s why I came here.”
During Monday’s practice, Gibson was clearly still getting on the same page with some of his new receivers. But several times, he showed what made him an elite recruit. At one point during skeleton drills, Gibson took the snap, spun around as if a defender had blitzed his blind side, and then hit a receiver along the right sideline for a first down.
Not bad for a guy who hasn’t thrown a meaningful pass in several seasons.
“I thought Torrance did a really good job throwing the football today,” Huff said. “He put some touch on it and made some intermediate and quick throws.”
Gibson acknowledged after practice that he’s still a work in progress.
“Timing, that’s what it’s going to take,” he said. “Offense takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Timing and a lot of practice after real practice. A lot of one-on-ones, film and we’ll be good.”
With the Aug. 31 opener against Itawamba rapidly approaching, Sisson said he has remained focused.
“The best man is going to play. That’s always how it is, at any college,” he said. “It’s just going to be whoever the best man is, really. That’s all you can do. Whoever can get the job done and win games.”
Huff echoed Sisson’s sentiments.
“We’re just going to keep battling there,” he said. “Both will contribute.”