April 5, 2020

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Diamond In The Rough: J’Mani Gibson

J’Mani Gibson is a 6’1 325-pound defensive tackle out of Fort Bend Travis high school. The first thing that stands out when you watch J’Mani play is his size, he is difficult to move and imposes his size and strength on offensive lineman. In the weight room, he benches 425 pounds, squats 600 pounds, and power cleans 315 pounds. Gibson has good use of his hands and engages the offensive lineman quickly and thrusts them upwards getting them off balance, before tossing them to the side. Even though is heavy, he has a quick first step getting off the ball, disrupting the offense often. J’Mani shows good football acumen and seems to be in the right place often. This is reflected in the classroom where he has a 3.2 GPA.

When/How/Why did you start playing football?

I started playing flag when I was five, I did not start tackle until I was nine. Football was always something I wanted to do. Almost all the guys in my family had played and like most Texas boys, football is a way of life. It would be weird if I did not play football. was something I wanted to do my brothers were, my dad, my uncles, it runs in the family.

What is your favorite thing about football?

It is not only allowed but encouraged to hit people, wacking people and not getting in trouble for it is my kind of sport. I also love the team aspect; these guys are my brothers and we will do anything for each other. What qualities or values make you the player you are?  

At what moment did you realize you loved football?

It is funny how I realized it. We were in eighth grade and being punished, and the realized if I did not love football, I would not be here right now doing up-downs and running laps.

What has football taught you off the field?

How to be a leader, I know how to inspire people and push them to do better. I learned to bring people together. Life is hard and football has made me tougher and has prepared me for the difficulties of life. I feel like I can overcome so much just because football has made me tougher.

Has football helped you overcome anything in your personal life?

Yeah actually, recently my friend and teammate passed away. We had played together, and he is someone I cried with, worked with, and bled with. Football brought our team together and helped us get through it. Seeing everyone being at the wake had me in awe, because football brought us all together, and I probably know or care about a lot of these guys without it.

Who is your biggest role model?

My mother, she works day and night to make sure we have what we have. I get my hard work mentality from her. She has given us everything, and I am very thankful for it.

What is your intended major for college?

I want to go into engineering, I’m not sure if I want to go into mechanical or aerospace though. It is something I have found interesting since middle school when I took my first class.

How do you prepare for games?

Watch clips of Lawrence Taylor and Reggie White. They are amazing, the best to do it on the defensive line. I try to use some of their moves, mostly Reggie, we have a similar style of play.

What is the hardest and easiest part of playing defensive tackle?

The hardest part is getting double and triple-teamed, which happens quite often, but I am good at splitting them or still disrupting the play when it happens. The easiest part is the opposite, it is one I get a one on one, it is hard to beat me in one on ones, it is where I show my dominance to the other team.

Define your style of play?

I play methodically, I try to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of my opponent. I also have a good motor, I am going to go at you 100 percent every play, and they are not going to be able to stop me.

What is your favorite play?

We have a play called Texas, I drop to LB, and I follow the ballcarrier. One time they ran a jet and I caught the receiver off guard, and I destroyed him, he fumbled on the hit.