Varsity Preps

Meet OL Alex Hibbett

When the class of 2014 prospects in Tennessee are being mentioned, everyone knows the big names such as Josh Malone, Jalen Hurd, Derek Barnett, and Todd Kelly Jr. However, they are certainly not the only prospects in the state looking to continue their football lives at the next level. There are a lot of players that go unnoticed each year, whether it’s because they don’t play a skill position, don’t play a major role for their team, or they play at a school that may not get much media attention. These players give every snap their all on the field and have the same dreams as those deemed “better” than them of playing football at the next level. It is with that in mind, that I am going to introduce you to a player who may not get all the shine of being a known name, but has the desire and skill set to play in college.

Tonight I’m going to introduce you to a lineman from the outskirts of Knoxville, TN. The area is known for it’s high school football, with powers Maryville, Alcoa, Fulton, and CAK, among others regularly competing for the state title in their respective classifications. A lot of these schools play each other each year and there has to be another school on the field. Tonight, this other school is Gibbs. The Eagles compete at the 3A level and see some high-quality teams during the year. Gibbs isn’t a consistent title contender, with their latest run being in 2010 where they played in the district championship game. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a star or two, and their brightest is Center Alex Hibbett.

Alex Hibbett is the son of an SEC referee and former Vol lineman, and the brother of a running back at Carson-Newman University, a local division II institution. He stands at 6’3″, 235lbs. Hibbett plays on both sides of the line, holding down Center on offense, and DE on defense. When asked about position preference at the next level he said that he would “like to be a Center, but would love to play anywhere”. Hibbett is a little undersized for a Center, or any lineman for that matter, but he does have a wide frame that he could fill in easily when in a college training program.

I learned of Alex when I was invited to watch Gibbs practice last Wednesday. I was told before practice of a few other players, but when I talked to Coach Conley, he told me that the “most college-ready player on this team is our Center”. Conley had nothing but praise for his senior lineman, talking about his poise and effort level on the field, and his excellence in the classroom. Hibbett boasts a 4.0 GPA and is among the top of his class. After my conversation with Conley, I spent the remainder of practice watching him. There wasn’t a play he took off. Any time his group was called, he was the first in line. He knew exactly what to be doing, and did it well. You could easily sense that he was a leader of the team. I had a lot to write down about him, especially positive things. Here is an analysis I took from watching Alex during practice.

Positives:
– Fast, easy snap
– Adjusts from snapping position to blocking stance quickly and efficiently
– Has EXCELLENT foot skills
– An above average blocker
– Does not give up on plays
– Has fairly good athleticism to move and block downfield
– Very powerful blocker and uses his body/stance to his advantage
– Mentally strong on the field

Things to work on:
– Gain weight. His frame suggests this could be done easily, but be cautious of losing athleticism
– Hand skills when blocking
– foot skills are very good, but quickness could be improved
– Become an even more powerful blocker.
– continue speed workouts to improve quickness

When I talked to Alex about college visits/camps, he told me that the only place he has really been is Carson-Newman. He attended a day camp there over the summer. The coaches were very impressed with his skill set and his mental knowledge. Hibbett recalled to me that the line coach at C-N told him that “if he were to continue to improve as a lineman, he’d fit right into their system”. He’s been on multiple unofficial visits, mainly to see his brother play for the Eagles.

If Alex Hibbett can continue to lead Gibbs and be productive on the line, I am certain that he deserves a shot at the next level. He’s a young man of great character on and off the field, and is a leader in the classroom. His bloodline shows that he has the potential to succeed at the college level, and his work ethic proves it. I look forward to seeing more of Hibbett, particularly game action, and truly hope that he gets the attention he deserves as well as the opportunity to play at the next level.

I will continue to look for talent on “lesser-known” high school teams here in Tennessee and do my best to provide even the slightest glimmer of light to get them to the next level. Also coming soon will be the final installment of the Tennessee Class of 2014 Top 20 Countdown. Look for it in the next day or so.

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