Stillwater News Press

December 9, 2008

New experiences lead Gibbs away from Oklahoma

Justin Hite

Jeremy Gibbs grew up Oklahoma State. A three-year starter at Stillwater High spent years immersed in the culture of the Big 12. When he sits down to watch the Holiday Bowl a day before New Year’s Eve, there is no question where his loyalties will lie. “The Oregon Ducks will beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys,” Gibbs said. “I’m happy to say we will be Holiday Bowl champions. My loyalties are definitely with the Ducks. I’m Ducks through and through.” The Stillwater-native was forced to attend a junior college after his days a Pioneer and wound up at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.; His list of accomplishments grew as he became a National Junior College Athletic Association All-American, wrangling in 91 tackles, seven sacks and six tackles for loss. Two years later, after helping the Golden Norsemen to a No. 6 ranking nationally, the defensive lineman planned to attend Oklahoma. All that changed when he was approached with the opportunity to do something new. “It was one of those things where I just wanted to see something different,” Gibbs said. “The Big 12 is all I’ve ever seen. I just wanted to get out there and do something different.” Gibbs withdrew his name from the Oklahoma list and instead attended Oregon. Rather than becoming a Sooner, the nearly 300-pound lineman, became a Duck. “I got to see new things,” Gibbs said. “I’ve always stayed at home and saw all the same things. I never got an opportunity to go out and see something different.” The decision was a difficult one for Gibbs to make, but during his career at Oregon, every place Gibbs went contained something new to see. Every game Gibbs played in was the first time he had been to that city. “He was never afraid to do anything new,” SHS coach Rusty Atkins said. “He was always the first to come get a basketball to challenege me to one-on-one. He’s always competitve in doing different things.” Whether it was Los Angeles to play USC or Ann Arbor to play Michigan, Gibbs was getting the exact thing he wanted out of his college experience: something new. All that is in the past and he has since taken his football talents north, playing in the Canadian Football League. A member of the B.C. Lions, Gibbs is listed in the roster as an import and, while it may be the sport that brought him to the neighboring country, Gibbs continues his collegiate ideal of experiencing new things. “Football was the deciding force to put me up there,” Gibbs said. “If I had the opportunity to come back down here I’d have to take a look at it. ... I love it up there. I’d love to spend the rest of my career up there, but if I had the opportunity to play here I’d have to take a look at it.” The location is only the first hurdle of new experiences for Gibbs to jump over. Another, and almost immediate hurdle, is the fact that he has moved a completely new country. Fellow “imports” like Korey Banks and Cory Rodgers, have helped ease the transition for Gibbs, but most of the team are imports from the United States. The final hurdle is a change to the game that Gibbs has played for years. He was sought after by the Lions because of his ability to go sideline-to-sideline. In Canada, he has to go an extra couple yards to get to the sideline. The field in Canada is roughly 15 yards wider and 10 yards longer than the American version. “The field is bigger than here,” Gibbs said. “It’s a little bit wider and a little bit longer. You have to be a little bit faster to play in the league.” Gibbs has been a lot of places in his football career and it’s his drive to experience new places that have taken him across the country — and even out of the country — to play football. It may seem convenient that the man who has moved so much never really embedded his roots anywhere, except the last place he made an impact on the football field — a bias he will show when he watches the Holiday Bowl with even his closest family members. “Uncle Bobby, I told you Oklahoma State is going to lose,” he said.