Posted by Jeremy Pittenger on March 20, 2017
Senior football player and California native Justin Gibbons didn’t envision what college would be like before enrolling at Aurora University. His collegiate experience started closer to home at a community college, yet he felt a pull in another direction.
“There wasn’t an emphasis on school spirit or athletic support,” he said.
When his uncle, a high school counselor in Sugar Grove, Illinois, suggested that Gibbons consider applying to Aurora University, he emailed the coaching staff and never looked back.
“I needed a university that was going to keep me focused and on track,” he said. “This became clear as I got to know AU staff.”
His teammates have been equally supportive. Last year, he was voted team captain and AU provided the tight-knit community and structure he needed to be successful. “Coach Ponx has been a very amazing and incredibly involved person in my life. I could not have asked for a better figure and leader to help guide me through the last two years of my collegiate career,” he said.
That career included playing both defensive back and wide receiver. On defense, he accounted for 30 tackles, three pass break-ups and the blocked kick that clinched the Spartans’ 2016 NACC championship. As a receiver, he had six catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
His experience at Aurora has prepared him for a possible future in football beyond college. He signed with an agent and has been working out with Division I players at a nearby performance facility. “Two years ago, if you told me that I would have the chance to play in front of NFL scouts, I would have not believed it,” he said.