Thursday, January 20, 2022

Vassallo: Jake Gibbs Forgotten Great QB of Magnolia State


With amazement I recently went through the list (per Saturday Down South) of the greatest QBs in the history of the Magnolia State. Although I agreed with most of their selections, I was literally shocked and in utter disbelief that Jake Gibbs was not only omitted, but not No. 1 overall!

When we grade or evaluate greatness in sports legends, popularity and other secondary issues are just that — secondary. Jake Gibbs won championships opposed to winning “the most popular in class.” Although he was quite popular as well, he will always be in my book the greatest quarterback in Ole Miss history as well as Magnolia State history, bar none!

Through the years, I have been engaged in debates as to who was the better centerfielder, Mantle or Mays. The answer is an easy one in my thought process: Mantle! The World Series is the ultimate test in baseball. Comparing Mantle and Mays in the October fall classic, Mantle leaves Mays at the starting gate.

Mantle still holds the all-time major league record for World Series home runs with 18. Mays never hit a single one!! Yet there are still those who claim he was better than Mantle.

Returning to the quarterback listing, there may not be a speed limit sign on the Ole Miss campus honoring Jake Gibbs, but there should be a statue honoring this great QB and former NY Yankee. Jimmy Lear introduced Ole Miss football to greatness via John H. Vaught while Jake Gibbs solidified the introduction. Maybe, just maybe one day, Jake will receive the recognition and respect he so much deserves starting here on the Ole Miss campus!


Steve Vassallo is a contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. In addition, he is a certified economic and community developer and currently, a highly successful leader in the real estate business with Premier Properties of Oxford.You can contact Steve at or call him at (985) 852-7745.