Six-foot-five, 327 pound, Florida State Seminoles Left Guard Dillan Gibbons’s job is simple, unglamorous, and highly important to the offense’s success. Gibbons and his other linemates create running lanes for the runningbacks and protect the quarterback when the team attacks through the air—elevating the play of those around with every block. Much like his job on the field, Gibbons has made it his mission off the field to elevate the stories and lives of others to help them become the best they can be.
A Special Bond
Gibbons’s journey to Florida State began somewhere much, much colder. His first taste of college football came playing for Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. In his career with the Irish, he played in 29 games allowing just one quarterback hurry and no sacks.
Despite success in limited action at Notre Dame, he could not break the starting roster due to a lingering issue from a fracture in his foot. Although he didn’t have the success he imagined at Notre Dame, he did have one encounter that would help change the lives of others for years to come.
After a game in South Bend, Gibbons met Timothy Donovan, a fan with VACTERL, a condition that attacks numerous systems in the body.
The two immediately hit it off and became quick friends.
When Gibbons transferred to FSU, the friendship continued. When Donovan was going through surgery, Gibbons stepped in to help, creating a GoFundme to help with medical expenses and a trip to Tallahassee.
Big Man, Big Heart
When the NCAA passed new name, image, and likeness rules in 2021, Gibbons had the tools to give on a whole new level. He created the Big Man Big Heart nonprofit.
The non-profit recruits NCAA student-athletes who have a substantial presence and following on social media to become Collegiate Ambassadors, then helps them select a charitable initiative to promote. Big Man Big Heart’s team will teach the student-athlete how to identify a charitable initiative, help them deal with the recipients of the fundraising effort, assist in gathering the information, photos, and videos required to put together a compelling GoFundMe story, publish the story and help them promote the fundraiser with the social media posts and garner media attention for their fundraiser to maximize the donations. Big Man Big Heart teaches student-athletes the value of giving back, both professionally and personally, and helps people in need of support with their fundraising efforts.
So far, the organization has raised $327,000.00 for causes around the country.
Gibbons’s work in the community earned him the Wuerffel Trophy, an award given to an “FBS player who best combines exemplary community service with leadership achievement on and off the field.”
Click here for more information about the Big Man Big Heart Nonprofit.
Back in his home state of Flordia, the St. Petersburg native was a major addition to a struggling offensive line. With consistent playing time and his veteran leadership,, Gibbons would help transform the offensive line into a force in the ACC. In his last year of NCAA eligibility, he played 12 games and 770 snaps, only allowing 11 quarterback hurries, two quarterback hits, and no sacks.
The Seminoles finished the 2022 campaign with a 10-3 record and their first bowl appearance since 2019.
Now that Gibbons has completed his final season, he will turn his attention to the NFL combine and hopes to be drafted in April. His college career is a perfect example of how we can make a difference in the lives of others right where we are. Sometimes all it takes is a conversation.