His story: J.T. Ibe is the youngest of six siblings who have gone through Mansfield High School. He has started for the varsity squad since he was a sophomore. He’s the unquestioned leader of the secondary and leads the team in tackles. This season, he has three interceptions, including one Friday that he returned for a touchdown — a huge play in the second half of the Tigers’ 35-24 victory against Duncanville. He has committed to Rice.
He said: “We started off 0-2 and it was like, ‘What is going on with this season?’ But when you think about it, it’s the same as we started off last year as well. And this time last year we were 2-2 in district and this year we’re 3-1. We knew we weren’t playing as well, but the defense was playing well enough to keep us in every game and our offense is starting to look good now.
“[As a leader] I just try to talk them up. It they make a mistake, I tell them not to worry about it. If I’m making big plays, they want to make big plays, too. Everybody wants to be a playmaker on the field, and that’s not going to happen. But you can still do your part and make the plays out there. I tell them if the secondary covers, the defensive line makes sacks. If the defensive line makes sacks, the secondary gets interceptions. So we just work together as a team.”
Coach Jeff Hulme said: “He’s very intelligent. You can tell him one time how you want something done. He takes care of the whole secondary. He takes care of all the checks and calls and gets everyone lined up correctly. And he loves the game. He just loves to play football; he loves to work out and to get himself ready. He runs track to get himself in shape for football. He has such passion for the game. I don’t think our defense would be playing as well as they are now without him. He is the leader of that defense and the only one out there with three years of experience. He leads by example, so he gets everybody going and they follow him that way. And he backs it up. Some people are verbal leaders and they don’t back up what they say, but J.T. does.
“He’s very funny and he’s got a very keen sense of humor. He likes to joke around with teammates in the locker room. He also does a great job of mentoring. He loves doing that and he’s got a heart as big as Texas when it comes to working with other kids. He’s a super young man.”
Interesting note: As Hulme tells it: “His freshman year, when our varsity team made the playoffs, we brought him up to help our varsity get ready for the playoffs in practice. Our very first practice, he was out there in the secondary, and we threw a pass to one of our receivers and he literally knocked him out. He came up to make the tackle and knocked him out. That got all the coaches’ attention.”
Special to S-T
J.T. Ibe, right, who has three interceptions this season, has committed to Rice.
We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.
Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?