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Monday, January 09, 2006

Crash kills MU recruit

Crash kills MU recruit

By Anthony Hanshew
The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University football recruit David Gibson was killed late Saturday night while traveling to Huntington, according to his high school football coach, Ira Reynolds.

Gibson, 19, died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident near Atlanta, Reynolds said. He was en route to Huntington from his home in Tallahassee, Fla., and was scheduled to begin classes at Marshall today. Gibson, a standout cornerback from FAMU High School, was scheduled to join the Thundering Herd for spring practice.

"I got the call about 1:30 this morning that he had been in an accident outside of Atlanta," Reynolds said. "This is a devastating blow to the team. A lot of the players have been up since 2:30, 3 in the morning and a lot have gone to (Gibson's) mother's house.

"It's just a shame that he was struck down so early when his real life was going to start. It's just sad, period."

Marshall football coach Mark Snyder received word of Gibson's death early Sunday morning.

"It's very numbing," Snyder said. "I'm numb. David was starting the second phase of his life to become a young man and it just shows how fragile life is. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. I'm a bit speechless."

Snyder said he and/or offensive line coach Mike Cummings, who recruited Gibson, would attend the funeral.

"He made a commitment to be a part of our family," Snyder said. "We will be there."

From his first contact with Marshall's coaching staff, Gibson displayed a maturity beyond his years, Cummings said. Cummings spoke with Gibson's family early Sunday morning.

"As I recruited David I realized he had a plan for his life," Cummings said. "He was a well-liked young man, and he truly wanted to be successful.

"He worked almost a full-time job while going to school and even though he encountered some difficulties, he never complained or made note of it. He just took care of business. ...

"It's hard on everybody. We thought David was a player that certainly was going to be an impact player, but more than that, we'll miss him as a person. That's what we'll really miss."

Gibson originally was scheduled to join Marshall's football team in 2005, but he returned to FAMU last semester to earn required credits for graduation. In addition to Marshall, he was recruited by North Carolina, Oklahoma State, East Carolina and Iowa State.

"This kid has worked very hard, and he had gotten all of his paper work taken care of," Reynolds said. "We had a little celebration in the guidance office when he had finally taken care of what he needed to.

"He was so excited about the possibility of going to college. When he visited Marshall, he really liked all of the coaches and players, and he was so excited about going back."

Gibson's lifelong goal was to play for the Florida Gators, but following his visit to Huntington, he cancelled a trip to Gainesville, Fla., Reynolds said.

"He was so impressed by coach Cummings and all of the coaches and players," Reynolds said. "He felt that was where he needed to be.

"He felt he could solidify his dream by getting there and being part of the team."

Reynolds joined with members of FAMU coaches and players Sunday afternoon and an assembly was scheduled for this morning at the school. Counselors will be available today for FAMU students and staff to deal with the death of its popular recent graduate.

"You're talking about a leader and a quality young man that has always had responsibility and always lived up to them," Reynolds said. "I've never known him to lie. I know kids do that, but he's always been straight with me and the coaching staff.

"Once he became focused on something, he generally accomplished it. He turned sour lemons into lemonade and everybody loved him. There has just been an outpour of love and concern from the FAMU family.

"He's a quality kid that I've known since he was a little boy. I watched him grow and it's very disheartening to grasp that he's no longer with us."

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Photo courtesy of the Tallahassee Democrat

David Gibson

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