Gibbs transforms into key contributor for Blue Jays

NORTH JACKSON — Dyllen Gibbs stood 5 feet, 11 inches and weighed 140 pounds.

The Jackson-Milton High School football uniform hung on his undersized body as the black and blue colors enveloped his frame.

The then-sophomore was more cross country runner than gridiron warrior.

That changed in two seasons.

Gibbs, now a Blue Jays senior athlete, gained an inch and put on a whopping 45 pounds.

He met Nate Brode last season. Brode is in his second year as Jackson-Milton’s head coach.

Gibbs came from Austintown where he was squatting 250 pounds and benching 155 pounds after his freshman year.

Brode, who will toggle between running back and back-up quarterback for the Blue Jays, taught the young player techniques and skills.

Gibbs was welcomed into the school’s weight room where Brode was with him every day to set goals and spot his progress.

Protein shakes. Meal plans. Rice, oats, milk and water. No carbonated beverages. No tea or sugary drinks.

Gibbs now benches 235 pounds and squats 415 pounds.

“I wanted it as bad as he wanted it for me,” Gibbs said. “I thought I could do something good, not only for the team, but myself.”

Brode saw his senior athlete wanted to improve himself mentally and physically.

“He’s a weight room workout warrior,” Brode said.

The difference from his sophomore year to now is significant, one that is bound to help a Jackson-Milton team shed its 2-8 record from a year ago.

“You know when you see Dyllen Gibbs he’s an athlete,” Brode said.

That’s an understatement.