Film study: Notre Dame OL commit Dillan Gibbons

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

OL Dillan Gibbons, 6-4, 311; Clearwater (Fla.) Central Catholic.

The numbers: As a junior, Gibbons helped pave the way for a St. Petersburg (Fla.) Northside Christian offense that averaged 341.6 yards per game. The Mustangs (6-4) lost in the first round of the FHSAA Class 2A playoffs. Gibbons has since transferred to Clearwater Central Catholic.

The rankings: 247Sports – Three stars, No. 43 offensive tackle. Rivals – Three stars.


First impression: Gibbons is a powerful offensive lineman with a mean streak. He puts forth the extra effort to make sure his defender ends up on the ground. Gibbons is destined to be an interior lineman for the Irish.

Strengths: Gibbons routinely overpowers defenders to clear running lanes at the point of attack. He doesn’t need long to get his defender moving backward. Quick feet and balanced strength from his upper and lower body let Gibbons win most of his blocks. Gibbons does a good job of turning defenders to create creases for the ball carrier. Gibbons is also agile enough to capably handle blocking assignments at the second level. As a pass blocker, Gibbons moves his feet well to stay in a good position against defensive linemen.

He did what? (3:08) Gibbons drives his defender into the end zone on a typical running play, but what Gibbons doesn’t know is that the football has been fumbled by his teammates. The ball rolls just behind Gibbons but because he maintains control of the linebacker, Gibbons prevents him from recovering the fumble. The determination to finish a block that Gibbons so frequently shows pays off in a big way … (3:33) Gibbons is left with no one to block in pass protection, but he doesn’t take the play off. He waits until a defender disengages with one of his teammates and knocks him to the ground …(5:48) Gibbons shows his patience as a pass blocker and doesn’t budge on a fake inside from the defensive end. Instead, Gibbons waits for the defensive end to commit to the rush and keeps him outside and well wide of his quarterback.

Competition level: Gibbons may live in Florida, but the competition he saw on the field during his junior season doesn’t necessarily match the reputation the state has as a football powerhouse. Northside Christian plays in one of the smaller classifications in the state, 2A, with a light regular season schedule. Only one team, Admiral Farragut, was ranked among the top 300 teams in the state, according to MaxPreps. Gibbons dominated mostly inferior competition.

Left to prove: A close look at Gibbons’ film will show that he often gives away whether the play is a run or a pass. His stance is much more balanced with his feet under him on pass plays. When a run is called, Gibbons has more of a forward lean with his feet farther behind him. Opposing teams will likely pick up on that if he doesn’t adjust. If Gibbons has long arms, he doesn’t use them as well as he could in pass protection. He could really take control of defensive linemen with a strong punch, but it’s hard to tell on film if it’s a physical limitation or a simple technique improvement that needs to be made. Gibbons remains a better run blocker than pass blocker, which is typical for high school linemen.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Dillan Gibbons was the first 2017 recruit to verbally commit to Notre Dame (photo courtesy Student Sports).