The rapid proliferation of televised high school football games has numerous benefits. The wide public — that’s all of us, folks — gets to take in the nation’s biggest face offs. As with college football, the production value has risen to a level where it’s often just as good to watch from home as it is from the stands. In fact, there really aren’t any downsides for the fans.
However, there are some notable risks for the players themselves, and we found out all about one of them on Sunday, when American Heritage faced off against fellow Florida squad Palm Beach Dwyer on ESPN.
American Heritage features one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterbacks, Torrance Gibson, who has received attention from just about every program in the nation. He’s stayed relatively cryptic about where he wanted to attend school, right up until the most recent week. Then, in a span of just a few days, Gibson began dropping a couple clues that he might be leaning toward attending Ohio State. First, he offered up a tweet calling for prayers for Braxton Miller, OSU’s injured star quarterback. Then, on Sunday some eagle-eyed observers noted that Gibson was sporting some very special cleats that weren’t decked out in American Heritage’s gold and black color scheme.
You can see Gibson wearing the cleats in warmups directly above, and it was noted by the likes of Eleven Warriors, among others. That’s red, or rather scarlet, mixed in with a silvery gray and the traditional Nike black and white. More tellingly, the special edition Nike Vapor Elite feature an Ohio State logo. Seems like a sign, no?
Here’s what the Ohio State Nike Vapor Elite cleats look like up close:
Well, according to one of Torrance Gibson’s teammates, the cleats are more than a sign; Gibson actually is a Buckeye commit. The candid moment was captured by ESPN’s cameras, with Dredrick Snelson surprising his teammate by an off the cuff outing of “Ohio State commit”.
There’s no word from Gibson confirming Snelson’s claim, but there hasn’t been a denial, either. While Gibson may have been nearing his decision, or perhaps even reached it but been unwilling to declare it himself. He might have even been hoping to hold off entire the Under Armour or U.S. Army All-America Games.
That makes Snelson’s brief outing pretty cold, even if he never thought it would get picked up by microphones or cameras. Hence the sudden threat that the increased number of prep games pose to student athletes. It’s certainly no crisis, but it’s worth bearing, and watching for the rest of us (particularly if more stars have their college choices come out this way).