Brandon Gibson's road to the NFL draft was paved with adversity, both personally and professionally.
The Eagles' sixth-round pick, Gibson suffered the loss of his father in January.
That same month the receiver pulled his hamstring at the Senior Bowl in Alabama. The injury subsequently handcuffed his showing at both the NFL Combine and Washington State's pro day.
With a heavy heart he tried to focus on football. But it was tough. At that time he didn't know if he would get an opportunity to fulfill his NFL dream. That is, until Sunday afternoon.
"All that goes out the door now because I've got an opportunity to play football," Gibson said via a conference call shortly after being selected with the 194th overall pick. "I'm just excited to finally get the opportunity.
"I didn't think I was going to have an opportunity to play or get drafted. Thankfully the Eagles gave me a call."
In Gibson, the Eagles land a 6-foot, 210-pound prospect who concluded his college career as the school's all-time leader with 2,756 receiving yards and finished second in WSU annals with 182 receptions. Gibson said he first learned of the Eagles' interest during his junior year, a season in which he broke the school's single-season record with 1,180 yards and was a first-team All-Pac 10 selection.
He seriously considered leaving school after the 2007 season, but was convinced by the new coaching staff that he would greatly benefit returning to the university in 2008. However, his production tapered off somewhat as a senior as the Cougars suffered through one of the worst seasons in the program, finishing 2-11 for the campaign.
"It was kind of hard. I didn't play to the best of my abilities. I was frustrated," Gibson said. "I tried to stay positive."
Still, Gibson believes his college career prepared him well for the next phase of his football career.
"I played in a pro style offense my freshman, sophomore and junior year, so I'm not really scared of that," Gibson said. "I definitely want to get adjusted to the speed. I think that might be the number one thing. Once you learn the playbook, that will make things easier and you can become more natural."
Gibson is ready to catch some "heat-seekers" from "Mr. McNabb." Meanwhile, he says fans can expect to see a receiver who likes to be aggressive and physical, a guy who can move the chains, get downfield or go across the middle.
It's the dawn of a new day for Gibson. The mental and physical strains of the last few months are behind him. Of course, he still carries with him the memory of his father.