PLAINFIELD, Ill. – How many defenders does it take to tackle Plainfield North senior running back Kapri Bibbs?
One to latch onto to him. A second to slow him down. A third to put him to the ground.
“When I run the ball, you have to have the mentality that nobody’s going to stop you,” Bibbs said. “That’s the first thing that comes in my head. It’s not going to be one person or two people to bring me down. You need at least three people to bring me down. I’m going to keep going if you’re clawing at me, hanging on my back.”
Opposing defenses have been discovering that the hard way this season. Bibbs, the ESPNChicago.com Prep Athlete of the Week, has not only been envisioning that no one can stop him, but he’s also been proving it.
Despite missing Plainfield North’s season opener, Bibbs has rushed for 1,169 yards and 19 touchdowns in four games. He’s run for 300-plus yards on three occasions and has scored four or more touchdowns in all of his games.
“Whenever you see him run and do some of the things he does, you expect them to a certain extent,” Plainfield North coach Tim Kane said. “We knew he had made quite some progress, but some of the things he has done during games quite honestly have been special.”
Bibbs’ season did get off to a slow start as he had to miss the season opener because he hadn’t participated in enough preseason practices to be eligible.
In Week 2, he quickly made up for lost time. Against Grant, he rushed for 338 yards and six touchdowns, both career highs.
From there, Bibbs knew this season would be one to remember.
“My sophomore year I was real dominant at the sophomore level, but I was jittery my junior year,” Bibbs said. “This year I’m putting out all my weapons. I’m not holding back, and I love it.
“I feel stronger. I feel faster. I feel like those 11 guys on the defense don’t stand a chance against the offense. That’s how I feel.”
For anyone who thought Bibbs’ first game was a fluke, he went out the next week and ran for 177 yards and five touchdowns against Plainfield East. The following week he had 306 yards and four touchdowns against Plainfield Central. Finally last week, he rushed for 340 yards, a new career high, and four touchdowns.
Bibbs’ combination of power and speed has always impressed Kane, but it’s his vision that amazes him.
“He has the ability to make a big play out of what would be an average play,” Kane said. “He can take a 4-, 5-yard run and turn that into a 40-yard touchdown run. He’s made some pretty good plays where defenses have blitzed right into him or we missed a block up front.”
Bibbs can credit his 4.3-second 40-yard speed and 350-pound bench press to hard work, but he’s not sure where his vision comes from. It doesn’t run in his family. His family was a basketball one until Bibbs took up football in fifth grade.
However he’s acquired it, he is thankful for it.
“I think it’s the best attribute I have,” Bibbs said. “It’s natural. It’s just natural ability cutting back and finding an open field.”
With Bibbs putting together such a remarkable season, colleges have been calling. The problem is when Bibbs answers, he lets everyone know he’s already committed to Colorado State, and he has no plans of changing that no matter how yards or touchdowns he runs for this season.
“They’re committed to me, and I’m committed to them,” Bibbs said. “I thought about the Big Ten. I was learning toward Purdue and [Illinois]. But I kind of wanted to get away, see some new places. Going West will open up new things for me.”
Kane has no doubt that Bibbs will continue his football success at Colorado State.
“The thing people don’t realize about him is he’s such a fierce competitor,” Kane said. “This kid hates to lose. It’s not about how many carries or yards he gets. He wants to win. He wants to be the best running back in the field. He’s pretty motivated to be successful.”