Ohio State’s biggest week of the present football season started out with a potential boost for the program’s future with the verbal commitment of one of the top quarterback prospects in the country.
Torrance Gibson, a Scout.com top 50 national prospect from Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage, made his future college known Monday afternoon with a verbal commitment to Ohio State during a news conference at his school.
The commitment of Gibson, a 6-4 left-hander rated No. 6 quarterback in the country and the No. 45 overall prospect, came as little surprise considering he had declared the Buckeyes his leaders in late summer. So far, Columbus has been the site of his only official visit, but he cannot sign a letter of intent until February so there is still time for other major programs to try to convince him to change his mind.
Gibson is the second quarterback to verbally commit to Ohio State for the 2015 class, joining Joey Burrow, a four-star signal caller from The Plains (Ohio) Athens who is rated No. 22 nationally at his position.
Burrow told The Columbus Dispatch in mid-October he welcomes the competition if Gibson becomes a Buckeye.
"He’s a really good athlete," he told the paper. "It’d be great to have him. Obviously, I’d have to beat him out. I think I have the skills to do that. The more competition, the better I get as a player. If you want to be the best, you have to beat out the best."
More than a decade has passed since the last time Ohio State signed a pair of quarterbacks with the intention of both enrolling for the upcoming season and beginning as a quarterback. The 2011 class included Braxton Miller and Cardale Jones, but the staff announced on signing day Jones would not enroll until the following January. He did so after spending a semester at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia.
In 2002, then-head coach Jim Tressel signed Justin Zwick, a record-setting passer at storied Massillon Washington High School, and Troy Smith, a highly rated but lesser-known prospect from Cleveland Glenville. Both were rated four-star quarterback prospects, but the school listed Smith as an "athlete."
"He may not start out taking snaps, but we know he can do it if need be," Tressel told reporters at the time. "We were very honest with him, told him that there probably would not be enough reps for two freshman quarterbacks, but that didn’t seem to bother him."
Smith did not become a full-time quarterback until 2004 or become the starter until Zwick got hurt midway through that season, but in 2006 he became Ohio State’s sixth Heisman Trophy winner after leading the Buckeyes to the Big Ten championship and an undefeated regular season. They lost the national championship game to Florida, who was coached by current OSU head man Urban Meyer.
In 1999, Ohio State signed Craig Krenzel of Utica (Michigan) Ford and Scott McMullen of Granville, Ohio. Krenzel eventually became the starter at the end of the 2001 season and helped lead the Buckeyes to the national championship in 2002. McMullen started two games for an injured Krenzel in 2003, wins over Bowling Green and Northwestern.
If Gibson and Burrow both sign with Ohio State in February, the quarterback room will be pretty crowded next year with Miller, Jones, J.T. Barrett and Stephen Collier all on scholarship. Miller would be the only senior.