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Friday May 27th, 2022 1:51AM

Football: Gibson is ready to build on 2021 season

By Bo Wilson Sports Editor
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Rabun County's Jaden Gibson is on the brink of greatness in the state of Georgia. 

The junior wideout was third in the nation in receiving yards (MaxPreps), is currently ranked 17th on the all-time receiving list in the state (GHSFHA), and is 1,303 yards shy of the top spot and 16 touchdowns away from the all-time mark as he prepares to enter his senior season.  

He also led the Wildcats with a Class 2A best 1,878 total yards and 19 touchdowns on 86 targets and was instrumental in leading the Wildcats to a Class 2A quarterfinals finish, an 11-2 record and an eighth-straight Region 8-2A title. On a side note, Gibson is in the driver's seat to pass former Rabun County wideout Braxton Hicks on the all-time state leader board and the school record in 2022. He needs 360 yards to break Hicks' mark. 

"We had a great year last year, and we ended it short, which I think is pushing a lot of kids on our team to work super hard to be better than we were last year," Gibson said. "We are all very motivated to go way further than we did last year, and we all want to prove everyone wrong."

On top of the impressive stats, his 2021 performance earned him Class 2A All-State honors, Region 8-2A All-Region first team, and, most recently, MaxPreps All-American status. 

"I have always dreamed of being an All-American, and as a junior, it makes it so much better because I have the opportunity to be an All-American next year as well," he said. 

When Gibson made the choice to transfer to Rabun County for his final two high school seasons, he found himself quicking emerging as then Georgia-commit Gunner Stockton's No. 1 target. 

"He is an amazing player and a great leader on and off the field," Gibson said about Stockton. "He also is an amazing person and friend."

The Stockton-Gibson duo connected 86 times, helping Gibson to become one of the best receivers in the state. Now, he'll have to find chemistry with a new guy in the off-season, but it may not be as difficult as most might think. 

West Forsyth transfer quarterback Keegan Stover (167-of-282, 2,409 yards passing and 25 touchdowns) will don the red and black next season in Tiger and, most likely, take over for the graduated Stockton. The pair were teammates when they were at Dawson County and have remained close since then. So, it should make for an easy transition for Gibson. 

He agreed.

"I feel me and Keegan are honestly pretty much already jelled," Gibson said. "We have thrown together on weekends since the 8th grade and have been best friends since the 8th grade as well."

The Wildcats will be under the direction of new head coach Michael Davis. That, too, shouldn't be a hard transition. Davis was instrumental in the Wildcats offensive output as offensive coordinator last season. 

Gibson said he couldn't have picked a better coach to replace Jaybo Shaw. 

"Coach Davis is a great coach and awesome role model," he said. "I have been close with him since he got the OC job last year, and when I found out he was gonna get the job, I was super excited and couldn’t wait to get started on a new season." 

As Gibson continues his off-season training, he is focused on helping Rabun County capture the elusive state championship in a brand new region and classification this fall. Rabun County dropped to the top division of Class A for the 2022 season. 

"I think we have a very competitive region, and it's gonna be fun to see where we all fall in," he said. "I would love to win the state championship and another region championship. I would also like to be All-State again."

  • Associated Categories: Sports, High School Sports, Friday Game Night
  • Associated Tags: Rabun County football, Jaden Gibson
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Football: Gibson is ready to build on 2021 season
Rabun County's Jaden Gibson is on the brink of greatness in the state of Georgia.
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