Georgia made not just one but two big transfer portal additions on Tuesday, as former LSU tight end Arik Gilbert will be joining the program.
Gilbert announced the news in an interview with Rusty Mansell of 247Sports. DawgNation was able to independently confirm the news as well.
“Being brought in to play wide receiver, I definitely think I can help the team win,” Gilbert told Mansell. “Nothing is going to be given to me, so I am ready to get there and get to work with the team.”
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Gilbert caught 35 passes in eight games as a freshman at LSU. He was a 5-star prospect out of Marietta High School in the 2020 recruiting cycle, while also being the highest-ranked player in the class from the state of Georgia.
There have been concerns about Gilbert’s eligibility due to his academics and that will be something to monitor as the season develops. However, if Georgia did not think it could get Gilbert eligible, it likely would not have taken him.
Georgia does have a bigger need at the wide receiver position than tight end, as the Bulldogs did lose George Pickens to an ACL injury.
It has been a wild offseason with regards to Gilbert, who first indicated a change was coming when he opted out at LSU after the eighth game of the season.
Reports then began to circulate that Gilbert was homesick. He officially announced he was entering the transfer portal on January 2.
At the end of January, Gilbert announced he had found a new home and that it would be the Florida Gators. The move made sense, given how well Florida head coach Dan Mullen was able to use Kyle Pitts last season.
On Feb. 28 though, Gilbert announced he would not be going to Florida and would instead simply show up at his school of choice. That school is now Georgia.
While Gilbert was listed as a tight end prospect coming out of high school, he has the athletic ability to play all over the field for the Bulldogs.
Gilbert has not been simply sitting at home either. He has continued to train with former Georgia wide receiver Terrence Edwards, someone he has had a strong relationship dating back to his high school days.
“Arik is in peak physical condition,” Edwards told DawgNation last week. “He’s in peak shape, mind, body and soul. He’s back to the guy that I’ve known since the ninth grade.”
Georgia was heavily involved in Gilbert’s recruitment as a high school prospect, though he ultimately ended up choosing LSU over Alabama, Georgia and Clemson.
Gilbert did have a strong relationship with Todd Hartley, Georgia’s tight ends coach throughout the recruiting process. He also took many trips to Athens as well.
Georgia does bring back tight ends Darnell Washington and John FitzPatrick. The Bulldogs also signed 4-star prospect Brock Bowers in the 2021 recruiting cycle.
Given the surplus of talent at tight end, the Bulldogs are going to be more than willing to put Gilbert on the field at wide receiver, most likely at the X position in the offense.
Only Kearis Jackson Jackson and Pickens had more receptions last season than Gilbert did for LSU.
The Bulldogs are set to begin offseason workouts today as players arrive back in Athens. Georgia opens the 2021 season against the Clemson Tigers on Sept. 4.
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