Georgia football-Arik Gilbert-transfer
Georgia TE Arik Gilbert comes off the sidelines at G-Day for Georgia on April 17, 2022, in Athens, Georgia. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Arik Gilbert thanks Georgia football program for its support as he enters transfer portal

Earlier this week, it was reported that Georgia tight end Arik Gilbert would be entering the transfer portal. Gilbert confirmed that news in an Instagram post.

Gilbert took time to thank the Georgia football program in said Instagram post.

Thank you to the University of Georgia and all the dawg fans for your unconditional support,” Gilbert’s graphic read. “Thank you to all of my coaches and teammates for standing by me over the past two years.

Gilbert played in three games over his two years at Georgia. He caught two passes for 16 yards and a touchdown in the win over Vanderbilt earlier this season.

The tight end arrived at Georgia with much fanfare after transferring in from LSU in June of 2021. Gilbert was the No. 1 player in the state of Georgia for the 2020 recruiting cycle and the highest-rated tight end in the history of recruiting rankings.

As a freshman at LSU, Gilbert caught 35 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers before entering the transfer portal.

Gilbert did not play for Georgia during the 2021 season after stepping away from the team in August. He rejoined the team in January and had a strong spring game for the Bulldogs as he caught two touchdowns in the spring game.

Georgia has one of the best tight end rooms in the country, with Brock Bowers winning the Mackey Award for the nation’s best tight end. Darnell Washington was named Second Team All-SEC tight end, while Oscar Delp was a top-100 overall signee in the 2022 signing class.

When asked about Gilbert, head coach Kirby Smart would often emphasize they wanted what was best for Gilbert as a person and not just as a football player.

“He continues to grow,” Smart said of Gilbert prior to Georgia playing Georgia Tech. “We’re just trying to help Arik as a person and a student right now.”

Gilbert is the second GEorgia player to enter the transfer portal, with defensive lineman Bill Norton announcing he would be playing for Arizona next season.

The Bulldogs signed tight ends Pearce Spurlin and Lawson Luckie on Wednesday as a part of the 2023 signing class.

Related: Brock Bowers shares advice for new Georgia football tight ends Pearce Spurlin, Lawson Luckie

“I’m excited about both of those guys,” Smart said of the two signees. “They’re coming into a room that is extremely competitive, but they both fit that criteria themselves. So I’m excited to see what they can do for us.”

Gilbert will not be with the team as the Bulldogs prepare for the College Football Playoff game against Ohio State. The Bulldogs and Buckeyes play in Atlanta on Dec. 31.

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