DeAngelo Gibbs and Nigel Warrior are cousins, and part of the finest collection of defensive backs that one Georgia high school program may have ever assembled for one season.
Gibbs – a 5-star recruit — is the nation’s top-rated cornerback among juniors. Warrior ranks as a 4-star safety and as the nation’s No. 5 safety for this year. There’s more talent in this secondary: Chad Clay (committed to UGA) and Baylen Buchanan (pledged to Louisville) are both the sons of former NFL players.
Where are those two cousins going? Gibbs says he’s wide open. He’s planning a Texas swing of recruiting stops this fall. UGA is in good shape and he’s already told the AJC that he will make an official visit to Oregon next fall. That’s the only one he’s sure about.
Warrior also likes UGA, but could also wind up anywhere from Alabama to his father’s old stomping grounds at Tennessee. Notre Dame, Oregon and Ohio State could also likely get an official visit.
The senior recently told the AJC “it is a 70-percent minimum” chance the two of them wind up playing at the same college program. Warrior transferred to Peachtree Ridge this year for several reasons, but one was for the chance to play his last season of high school with his cousin.
Gibbs told the AJC it depended on the situation and right scenario, but said it would be “amazing” and “awesome” to join Warrior at the same school. He said the two were close and it would be hard to break them up.
“Whatever school is the best for him may not be the best for me, but more than likely it should be the best for the both of us.”
The potential is clearly there for that to happen. Here’s another juicy topic: Is it premature to think about them playing on Sundays?
Mark Fleetwood doesn’t think so. The Peachtree Ridge head coach can roll off a list of future NFL players he’s either coached or scouted at this stage of their development.
Those notables include Eric Davis, Terrell Owens, Osi Umenyiora and DeMarcus Ware. All of those guys had fruitful NFL careers that put a lot of commas in their bank account. Fleetwood said Gibbs and Warrior are better than all of those guys at this same point of their careers.
“I’d take those two guys right there over every one of those other guys when they were in high school,” said Fleetwood, pointing to Gibbs and Warrior while smacking the gum in his mouth. “Not even close. These two guys right there. Scary.”
Player comparisons are an inexact science, but Warrior’s father Dale Carter played 14 seasons in the NFL. Their uncle Jake Reed also had 12 years in pro football.
It also different when those parallels come from a veteran football mind who can make those apples-to-apples comparisons. Fleetwood pointed to Gibbs in practice last week and made a jaw-dropping comparison.
“DeAngelo is a high school junior,” Fleetwood said. “I coached Terrell Owens in college when he was a sophomore. Now Terrell hadn’t really figured out football at that point in college but right now DeAngelo is a better football player than Terrell Owens when he was a sophomore in college.”
The tone of his voice remained level the entire time. It was like he was talking about the assignments on a stretch play. He thinks that Gibbs and Warrior are future millionaires for their football ability plus their dedication to the game.
“The work ethic and the way they are and their ability to work is where it should be right now,” Fleetwood said. “They do all the things they need to do to maximize their ability.”
His final comment on the matter puts their potential in the right context. Gibbs is old enough to be a senior this year and would likely be the state’s top player at that grade level, too.
“I’m trying to go about this the right way,” Fleetwood said. “I’m not saying this to put any extra pressure on these kids and make them out to be something they are not. I’m telling you if that kid (Gibbs) and that kid (Warrior) keep their heads right on their shoulders and from the looks of it they don’t have any immaturity or head issues. If they do, it is going to be a good life in football for those guys because they go about it the right way. They’ll be as good as I have ever been around. That’s just me being honest about it.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.