LAFAYETTE — It seems like an eternity since Le’Marcus Gibson began playing college football and if given a choice, he would likely continue playing longer than that.
Reference a roadmap and a medical dictionary and that adequately defines Gibson’s career.
He could have quit the game several years ago, before receiving his diploma last year from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The allure of football and locker room fraternity, however, have made it hard for Gibson to walk away, he said.
Since 2007, the collateral damage from knee. shoulder and leg surgeries and have created a fragile existence for Gibson, who is starting his second season at rover linebacker.
There’s only one solution left to keep Gibson playing regularly, said ULL defensive coordinator Greg Stewart.
“He’s been held together by duct tape right now. That‘s all we can do,” Stewart said.
Gibson is now taking advantage of a sixth year, after acquiring an extra season due to injuries.
Stewart said it would been easier for Gibson to remove himself from football, except for one thing.
“He’s just a warrior. For him, it’s the love of the game. He really loves football, man,” Stewart said.
Listen to Gibson and it’s hard to disagree.
“There’s been a lot of times I’ve really wanted to shut it down, but it’s love of the game, really. I enjoy the battle to come out each day with the team and do the workouts,” Gibson said.
“You enjoy laughing with the other guys and having fun with them at the end of the day. It’s also seeing the smiles on their faces after a win.”
Gibson’s route to Lafayette is circuitous, punctuated by unusual detours and the world’s largest ocean.
The Starkville, Miss., from Harrison Central High, initially signed with the University of Hawaii, trading the indigenous pine trees of his home county for sand and palms.
After saying aloha, it didn’t take Gibson long to realize the karma wasn’t right in Honolulu.
He played one game at safety for Hawaii in 2007 before blowing out a knee ligament.
Perhaps the upside of the injury was Gibson was given a medical red shirt for the season, giving him an extra year to play.
His one tackle that year at Hawaii would remain his college highlight until 2010 when he enrolled at ULL for the spring semester.
In 2008 he came back home, transferred to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, but did not play the following season.
Still searching for a place to play, Gibson came to Lafayette and seemingly found a home.
That is, until the injuries reappeared.
Gibson earned a ULL scholarship after walking on during the 2010 spring semester and played in six of the first seven games that season, before missing the rest of the season with another knee injury.
That same year Gibson later missed the Arkansas State game due to shoulder surgery.
The 2011 season appeared to be the year Gibson flourished, especially after Stewart decided to move him from the secondary down to linebacker.
“We needed his speed at linebacker and the move worked out for everyone. We saw he had a knack for finding the ball and had great leadership,“ Stewart said.
Before the season ended, though, there was more surgery, making it a third regular season that Gibson did not complete.
In the Cajuns’ loss at Arkansas State, Gibson broke his left leg and his missed the December New Orleans Bowl win.
This year Gibson, with duct tape nearby, is part of a defense that has recorded five turnovers in the first two games.
Gibson said the Cajuns’ penchant for turnovers is an attitude the defense has adopted the past two years.
“It’s just a relentless effort by the guys who are getting the ball out. It’s also something that we work on and go over,” he said.
“In football you win the turnover battle, you win the game.”