In preparation for his senior season, University of Tulsa defensive end Trevis Gipson spent a rare summer break learning from some of the NFL’s best defensive players.
Gipson participated in the Von Miller Pass Rush Summit in Las Vegas in early June, one of a handful of college players who attended alongside more than two dozen from the NFL.
“I’ve put in a lot of work and dedication to this game, and it’s good to see God opening doors for myself and allowing me to connect with people such as Von Miller to further my game,” Gipson said Wednesday. “I felt like I belonged, and I just want to keep that mindset and push myself even harder.”
Known for being anything but shy, Gipson reached out to Miller, a playmaker for the Denver Broncos, on social media to request an invitation to the camp.
“I shot him a message and said, ‘I’ve got to go,’ and he gave me the information to get me where I needed to go,” Gipson said. “He’s a pretty cool guy. If I hit him up, he’ll respond.”
A returning starter who ranked second nationally with five forced fumbles last season, Gipson shadowed the likes of Aaron Donald, the Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle who was selected the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 2017 and 2018.
“I play inside and out, so I’ve studied Aaron Donald’s film,” Gipson said. “I tried to hang around him. He pass-rushes from the inside and I felt like I could take a lot more techniques to improve my game inside and outside.
“It was good seeing Aaron Donald, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and all of those guys and being able to acquire some great techniques and pass-rush moves to help me further myself in this season. It was a great experience.”
Since arriving at about 200 pounds as a freshman from Cedar Hill, Texas, Gipson worked hard to fill out his 6-foot-4 frame. He has added more than 50 pounds in three years to become a formidable force in the trenches.
“He’s really dedicated himself to our football team,” coach Philip Montgomery said. “He’s unselfish. He’s explosive and plays with a lot of passion.”
For the Hurricane’s three-man front, Gipson headlines a group that includes veterans Shemarr Robinson and Tyarise Stevenson, along with defensive end Cullen Wick, who totaled 29 tackles as a junior-college transfer last season.
Under first-year defensive coordinator Joseph Gillespie, who also has coached TU’s linebackers the past four years, expect Gipson to remain a prominent figure in a defense that ranked eighth nationally against the pass in 2018, allowing only 174.6 yards per game.
In 37 career games, Gipson has 65 tackles, including 10.5 for lost yards, five sacks and six forced fumbles.
“(Gillespie) is all about getting to the quarterback,” Gipson said. “He’s going to turn me loose. Being up there with there with Von Miller and those guys, I feel like it just gave me more ammo to be able to do what I can against offensive tackles and keep progressing throughout the game.”
Gipson brought back his newly learned techniques to summer workouts, helping to generate more excitement among his teammates ahead of fall camp, which begins Aug. 1.
“For Trevis to get around those types of guys, it will be great for him and great for our team,” linebacker Cooper Edmiston said. “He’s just going to bring that with him and help our team out.
“We’re expecting big things from him. He’s a great leader on our team, and on the defense he brings a lot of energy.”