When asked if he would like to be referred to as a wide receiver or running back, Washington Redskins third-round pick and former Memphis University playmaker Antonio Gibson had a candid, straightforward response.
“I want to be referred to as a weapon,” Gibson said.
The No. 66 overall pick of the 2020 NFL draft obviously does not lack confidence, similar to Liberty University fourth-round pick Antonio Gandy-Golden (142 overall), who went to a smaller NCAA Division I FBS school.
“I definitely feel like I have had somewhat of a chip on my shoulder,” Gandy-Golden said. “The small school thing comes up a lot with me for some reason, even though I have produced. I just felt like I need to get my name as far as that goes. But I plan on coming into the league and playing right away, at least getting into the game and showing exactly what I can do. Whether it be at receiver or anything else.”
For Gibson, he had to tough it out for two years at East Central Community College in Decatur, Mississippi, before garnering the attention of Memphis. In comparison, Gandy-Golden did not go to an NCAA football powerhouse, being only the eighth player drafted in the school’s history.
“Basically, I could overcome anything I feel like,” Gibson said about transferring from community college to Memphis. “If you know about the JUCO route, it’s pretty tough. I’ve seen a lot of great athletes come and go. I mean to like, coming in and, like, gone in a week. I remember one, I won’t say his name, but he came in and simply because he was, like, ‘I miss my mom, I’m homesick.’
“So it’s pretty tough out there, so I’ve learned from myself that I can overcome anything, just need the right mindset,” he said.
Gibson powered through the adversity, though, and was named to the MACJC First Team All-State South Offense in JUCO before playing for the Tigers. During his senior year at Memphis, the 6-2, 221-pound wideout had 38 receptions for 735 yards receiving for eight touchdowns and rushed for 369 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. He averaged a whopping 19.3 yards per reception and 11.2 yards per carry.
The selection of Gibson marks the second-highest draft pick from Memphis, trailing only behind former running back Richard Williams, who was drafted at No. 56 in 1983.
Though their routes to the NFL were not the most conventional, the two offensive threats cannot wait for second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins to throw them the rock. The young gunslinger will now have two players with unique and versatile skillsets to build off his strong finish last season.
As for Gandy-Golden, he finished his career appearing in 45 games with 240 receptions for 3,814 yards and 33 touchdowns at Liberty. He was one of the most productive receivers in the country last season, totaling 79 receptions for 1,396 yards (17.7 avg.) and 10 touchdowns.
Both players share the same name, style of play, versatility, confidence, consistency and tenacity as they look to also share their success together.
“I have definitely talked to [Gibson] a good bit,” Gandy-Golden said. “We became pretty close at the combine I would say just from being so close with each other with everything we did. I was 17, and he was 18. It was kind of necessary, just to reach out and congratulate each other after the fact. And just voice how excited we are to be on the same team together.”