Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Two Late Reversals Bolster Bulldogs Gators, Jackets Lose Gibson, Anderson

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Two Late Reversals Bolster Bulldogs Gators, Jackets Lose Gibson, Anderson

Article excerpt

The biggest surprise on signing day in South Georgia and North Florida left Florida fans bemoaning the big one that got away and Georgia fans rejoicing over last-minute reversals that gave them two of the most-recruited players in the state.

Ware County High's Fred Gibson, a 6-foot-5, 175-pound wide receiver who's one of the top prospects at his position in the Southeast, a two-time Georgia Class AAAAA first-team All-State pick and Times-Union Super 11 preseason and Super 24 postseason pick, reversed a commitment to Florida and signed with Georgia at a ceremony at his high school in Waycross yesterday.

"Since I verbally committed to Florida Sunday, I've had bad feelings about the decision," said Gibson, who late Tuesday afternoon told the Times-Union he was going to Gainesville. "It came down to what was best for me. My grandmother always told me to pray on it when I had to make a decision. I did and chose Georgia."

Gibson's grandparents, Hollis and Delores Bethea of Waycross, have reared him from childhood.

The Bulldogs also got one of Gibson's highly recruited teammates, 6-3, 300-pound defensive tackle Gerald Anderson, who committed to Georgia Tech three weeks ago but signed with Georgia yesterday.

"I sat down and re-evaluated the situation and decided Georgia was the right fit for me," Anderson said.

Another Ware County player, 6-4, 240-pound defensive end Donnie Carter, honored his verbal commitment and signed with Florida State.

The Bulldogs also landed two more of the nine Division I-A signees in South Georgia. Bama Adams, a 5-10, 170-pound quarterback/defensive back at Charlton County High in Folkston, carried through on a commitment he made last year to the Bulldogs. Teammate Marquis Elmore, a 6-4, 235-pound tight end/linebacker who like Adams was a Times-Union Super 11 and 24 selection, signed with Georgia despite a flurry of rumors he had changed his mind. Wide receiver/defensive back Muhammed Abdullah (5-10, 170) honored his commitment to Kentucky, despite this week's firing of head coach Hal Mumme.

Florida was considered a natural for Gibson -- one of Georgia's top receivers who finished a two-year varsity career with 121 catches for 2,482 yards and was an easy Super 11 and 24 pick last year -- because of Gators coach Steve Spurrier's wide-open passing attack.

"I talked to Coach Spurrier yesterday [Tuesday] afternoon, and he told me he was disappointed but that he understood my decision," Gibson said.

He added that he saw a similar opportunity at Georgia under new coach Mark Richt, the former FSU offensive coordinator who replaced the fired Jim Donnan in December.

"It was always basically a 50-50 thing between Georgia and Florida," Gibson said. "I had a long talk with Coach Richt yesterday [Tuesday] afternoon. He has had that wide-open offense at Florida State, and he wants to throw it at Georgia. …

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