Easton Gibbs: ‘This Will Be It For Me’
LAS VEGAS -- Is 2023 Easton Gibbs' swan song?
It sure sounds like it.
Wyoming's middle linebacker, fresh off hearing the news he is the Mountain West's preseason defensive player of the year selection, said Wednesday this will most likely be his final season in Laramie.
No, he's not planning to transfer. Instead, Gibbs is in hopes a professional football career awaits.
"Yeah, I think so," Gibbs said during the conference's annual media days in Las Vegas. "You know, God forbid something happens (injury), but it's kind of my plan. This will be it for me. It's my fifth year, my senior year and I want to go out with the guys that I came in with.
"That's kind of where I'm sitting right now."
The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Temecula, Calif., product tallied a team-best 121 tackles last season. That ranked him 22nd in the nation and third in the league. He also finished with three sacks and a pass breakup. Gibbs parlayed that production into All-Mountain West First-Team honors.
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Gibbs grinned and brushed off the media's sixth-place prediction for the Cowboys this fall. He said it's an honor to be thought of as the conference's best defensive player, but added it means little.
"I'd say that really not a whole lot," he said, adding that he was asleep when the news broke. "You know, the preseason stuff, it's very cool to get voted and it's a blessing, but it was like last year, I wasn't on any of that stuff. I told myself the same thing I'm telling myself this year -- there are bigger goals."
Gibbs' best outing in 2022 came in a 14-13 victory over Border War rival Colorado State. He registered a season-high 13 tackles and a sack in that win over the Rams. He entered UW lore in Week 4. Battling an illness throughout the night that saw his fever hit triple digits and his weight drop a reported "12-to-14 pounds," Gibbs entered the Air Force game on the defense's first possession and racked up six tackles in a 17-14 upset.
"I felt bad for Jackson Marcotte because he was in the same room as me," Gibbs said with a smile, referring to the Cowboys' former tight end. "We still don't even know what it was, whether it was food poisoning or what ... it was a rough one."
If this is indeed Gibbs' final go on the high plains, he hopes it's a memorable one. With nine returners on his side of the ball, it could be.
Gibbs isn't getting sappy, reflecting or looking too far ahead. He's in the moment. Texas Tech is on the clock. But in the era of the transfer portal, Gibbs was asked what made him stick around when dozens of his former teammates hit the dusty trail.
The answer is a simple one.
"They were the people that took a chance on me," he said. "They're the first ones that gave me a chance -- the only ones that gave me a chance. You know, I feel like I owe it to the state and the people that brought me here and have welcomed me as family.
"I'm a loyal dude. It's always been Wyoming for me and I think it always will be."
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