Posted On: 01/14/20 5:24 AM
Isaac Collins, Evan Hull, Brad Davison, Jake Wieneke, Ben Shoults, Kayode Awosika, Sam Renner, and Adam Brant all come to mind when thinking of the Maple Grove Crimson greats of the last decade. All have reached great success in the Crimson uniform and have gone on to distinguish themselves at the college level whether at baseball (Collins), basketball (Davison), or football (the rest); and it seems the next in line to follow suit from Maple Grove has revealed himself: Anthony Gipson Jr. Coming off a huge senior season wherein Gipson (5'11, 210 lb.) recorded 113 tackles, 20 TFL's, 4 interceptions of which he returned 3 for TDs, 5 PBUs, and 2 sacks on the defensive side of the ball while aiding MG in the playoffs as a RB adding 264 yards and 3 TDs with an 8.2 yard per carry average. He's got about as good of a resume as you could ask for in a recruit, and I was thrilled when he agreed to an interview with Northstar Football News around the holidays. The senior currently holds offers from Northeastern State and the University of Mary, and was named to the MNFootballHub Second Team All-Metro, MFCA Second Team All-State, MN All-Star Game selection, and AP Second Team
Isaac Collins, Evan Hull, Brad Davison, Jake Wieneke, Ben Shoults, Kayode Awosika, Sam Renner, and Adam Brant all come to mind when thinking of the Maple Grove Crimson greats of the last decade. All have reached great success in the Crimson uniform and have gone on to distinguish themselves at the college level whether at baseball (Collins), basketball (Davison), or football (the rest); and it seems the next in line to follow suit from Maple Grove has revealed himself: Anthony Gipson Jr. Coming off a huge senior season wherein Gipson (5'11, 210 lb.) recorded 113 tackles, 20 TFL's, 4 interceptions of which he returned 3 for TDs, 5 PBUs, and 2 sacks on the defensive side of the ball while aiding MG in the playoffs as a RB adding 264 yards and 3 TDs with an 8.2 yard per carry average. He's got about as good of a resume as you could ask for in a recruit, and I was thrilled when he agreed to an interview with Northstar Football News around the holidays. The senior currently holds offers from Northeastern State and the University of Mary, and was named to the MNFootballHub Second Team All-Metro, MFCA Second Team All-State, MN All-Star Game selection, and AP Second Team All-State as well. The 5'11, 210 lber. is a thumper of a LB and has the strength to compete in a scholarship program as a college freshman. He told me he has recorded a 505 lb. squat 3x, a 17+ rep bench press at 225, and a 4.6 40-yard dash. As if his offseason wasn't busy enough trying to achieve those weight room gains, Gipson also represented the Twin Cities premier 7 on 7 team: Potenza Sports, as a LB on the offseason 7v7 squad. The total package of a recruit, Gipson got in-depth with NFN regarding his early childhood bouncing around schools in Minneapolis, taking over as a starter his junior season, and his hopes for a college scholarship. Check out this special All-State Edition of Northstar Football News' "Recruiting Report" below, and I hope you enjoy! Senior SZN
NFN: Hello and thank you for your time, Anthony. Congrats on the big senior season. Start by sharing wth us a little bit about yourself and your background coming into your senior year of high school.
Gipson Jr.: "My name is Anthony Gipson, I weigh 210 pounds and I’m 5‘11. I run a 4.4-4.6 40 yard dash, but I personally think my play speed is way faster than my 40 yard dash speed. I benched and broke the school record which is now 325, and I also squatted 500x3. My life was never really normal. In fact, the beginning of my life was actually very rough.
I moved around Minneapolis to different schools almost every year, making it almost impossible to make long-term connections with anybody. Ever since I was brought in by my grandparents at 13, I was gifted with living in Maple Grove. Their generous actions really changed my life. I never would've been able to have the educational opportunity or football career I have today if I didn't come to Maple Grove. Moving to Maple Grove was a really big change compared to anything that I had experienced in my younger life. I had never had to do homework before I moved here, which is why initially I struggled with my grades. I had no idea how to be a good student in school because I was never taught how to do normal things like homework. Thus, I struggled with my grades badly as a freshman and sophomore and I didn’t understand how to be a good student until my junior year. This made it really hard to maintain a good GPA. However, I have dedicated a lot of my time to redirecting my efforts and now I am proud to say I am getting good grades every trimester and expect that to continue. I finally realized the importance of my education and grades in school and am working to do better in school every day."
NFN: That's awesome to hear, Anthony. Continue by telling us how you began to play football, your career at MG up until your senior year including the 2018 season, and some highs and lows of your junior year season in '18.
Gipson Jr.: "I started football when I was 7 years old. My older brothers taught me how to play and they showed me how fun football can be so I kept playing. All of my older brothers stopped playing football because they either stopped loving the game or were injured. I kept playing because I love the game, but I also try to continue the dream that they didn’t attain. Freshmen and sophomore year were really fun, but I wasn't playing the position I wanted which was linebacker and running back. The whole offseason heading into junior year I worked harder than I've ever worked. They let me play linebacker but they also wanted me to play D-line, which caused me to feel disappointed in myself because I was playing the position I wanted but not fully. By the third game, they let me start and play the whole game. I was really excited and I did really well my junior year putting up 117 tackles, 10 for a loss, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. That season was so special to me because I wasn't a leader yet for the defense or the team in general so I had other people who supported me and the rest of my team. Evan Hull, who is like a big brother to me, taught me to always keep fighting even when you’re getting knocked down. For defense it was Gavin Pelto who has always pushed me to work harder. There are more people on the team who supported me but I just wanted to thank those two specifically. By my senior year at high school I was fortunate enough to be captain. My teammates selected me to lead the team and that meant I had to break out of my shell and talk and help my teammates the best I can. My lowest point of last year was when we lost the game against Lakeville North. My team felt ready to take on the #1 team in the state, but we fell short 20-13 in a hard fought last minute game. That game was the lowest point of that year for me because we lost the game and I felt like it was my fault even though everyone told me it wasn't. I got injured two weeks before that game against Wayzata, and in the final game it recurred. Even though I still gave it everything I had, I was not at 100%, and it sucks that we lost such a close game."
NFN: So what were your guys' expectations coming into 2019? And how did you perform? Also, what is something you like specifically about the Crimson program?
Gipson Jr.: "Coming into the season we had a few guys who returned who had a little bit of experience on varsity. For offense we had a total of 3-4 returning players who've played at least a few snaps on varsity. For defense we had 7 returners so the defense had nearly everything figured out, which allowed Coach Lombardi to help out the offense more. The offense changed from running a lot of power and stretch to a veer type offense. This was new for our whole team in general so we didn't know what to do, but over time we started to get comfortable with it. As expected, we still made a lot of mistakes blocking and reading the defensive line, but we continued to learn from them. For defense we decided to run a 3-5-3 which is 3 defensive linemen, 5 linebackers, 3 in the box and 2 playing outside linebackers. We had a lot of fast players and fast linebackers on defense so we decided to use a formation where we can use the most linebackers. Essentially, we were going to do what we are good at which is playing fast. My personal expectations coming into the 2019 season was just be who I am and dominate and also win, and I also wanted to be on the all state team and all metro first team. My whole life, I’ve been introverted and I usually only talk to myself or my close friends. However, this year was by far my favorite season as a football player because my teammates felt so close. Our program tries to emphasize the family in team but I feel like we strived way past that. My teammates really are my brothers. We are all so close and comfortable with each other. We help each other out and build around each other. Almost everyone on that team are leaders in my eyes. My senior season stats were: 113 tackles, 20 for a loss, 2 sacks, 4 interceptions, 3 of which I returned for a touchdown, and 5 pass deflections. I also played running back as well in playoffs and I had 32 carries for 264 yard which is 8.2 yards a carry, and 3 touchdowns."
NFN: You had quite a dominant year. Give us a little insight into how you became one of the Metro's most dominant tacklers. Also, walk us through the 2019 season in your own words!
Gipson Jr.: "I was very determined going into this season playing football and I really wanted to make a statement and have a dominant season. I wanted to play fast, physical, sideline to sideline, help in the passing game, and running the ball as well. I was willing to do whatever it took to help my team be the best it could even if that meant no breaks or no excuses. That is the ideology my football program goes by. What I did to help better my game was train with an organization called Potenza who helps me with everything about football. They even helped me in the weight room and in the classrooms. They have brought me to multiple camps that I can afford or get the best opportunity to earn a scholarship. I went to over 10 camps in the summer to get recruited and to show the other team that I'm a hard worker and I’m worth taking a chance. I like that football has taught so much about myself, such as leadership, collaboration, and dedication. I became a team leader by being the captain and it really taught me to become responsible and accountable. Heading into the first game my team and we felt pretty confident, but we were unsure about the new offense. We'd been practicing it the whole summer and we somewhat got the hang of it, but we kept on making little mistakes with it.Our defense was having a lot of fun being out there. We were playing our game and playing fast and physical. After losing to Totino-Grace, we decided to abandon the veer offense and go back to our old offense, which allowed us to go on a 2 game winning streak. We then lost a close one to Centennial in the 5th game of the year, 21-14 after a few mistakes which cost us the game. Then we went back on a 2 game winning streak and lost in the final game of the regular season to Champlin Park. Sadly we finished off the regular season 4-4 and then capped off the whole season 5-5. I personally felt like the season could've went a lot better if we fixed the little things as a team. We had little mistakes throughout the whole year that kept messing with us but I really felt like it was a very fun season. Maple Grove football was something special and when Coach Lombo came to the program, he changed the whole dynamic of the school and the football team. He really tries to make the team, school, and the whole city of Maple Grove a FAMILY. Thats the big thing I'll emphasize about the program the family aspect of it."
NFN: Well said. Last but not least, what's going on with recruiting? What are you looking for in a potential college football program?
Gipson Jr.: "I hope to play either Division 1 or Division 2 because I still want to continue my dream of playing football in college. I also want to join a team that feels like family and home. Family means so much to me because that’s how you end up winning. By helping one another and working together on everything you do. I also want coaches to care for their players and push us past our limits so we can become the best we can be. I personally think I work extremely hard, not just in football, but in everything I set my mind to and I constantly work on making myself better. This sport means everything to me and no matter how hard it gets, I won't quit and won't stop grinding to be the best. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story."
I wish Anthony nothing but the best in his recruiting process and the rest of his senior year, and am eagerly awaiting any news on where he will play football next fall!