HOOVER, Ala. — LSU coach Ed Oregon sees big things ahead for Arik Gilbert, even if he won’t be wearing the purple and gold of the Bayou Bengals.
“He’s going to be an All-American and a first-round pick,” Orgeron told DawgNation on Monday at the Wynfrey Hotel on the first day of the SEC Kickoff. “He’s an outstanding young man, and I wish him all the best.”
Gilbert enters his second season of college football back in his home state of Georgia after starting in all eight games he played for Orgeron at LSU, recording 35 receptions for 368 yards and 2 TDs.
“Arik is going to go there and compete and create matchup problems for a lot of people,” said Derek Stingley Jr., an All-American cornerback entering his junior season. “He will be perfectly fine moving outside to receiver. He moves pretty well for his size, and I’m excited to see what he does over there.
“He will go out and show everyone how good he truly is.”
Orgeron said LSU also considered moving Gilbert outside to wide receiver.
Georgia worked hard to recruit the 6-foot-5, 248-pound Gilbert out of high school.
The Bulldogs were considered a frontrunner for Gilbert’s services when he entered the transfer portal last winter, but Florida was the first school to get a commitment from him.
Ultimately, Gilbert de-committed from the Gators and chose Georgia, after Bulldogs’ go-to receiver George Pickens suffered a torn ACL in Match.
Former LSU star and SEC Network analyst Jacob Hester also has confidence in Gilbert’s ability to transition to receiver at Georgia.
“He’s got all the skills to do anything on a football field,” Hester said. “When he was getting recruited and committed and signed with LSU, I remember having Georgia legend Randy McMichael on our show and asked him about Arik.
“He said he could be an All-SEC defensive end if he wanted to be. Whatever they do with him, he’s going to have success. It doesn’t matter if he’s a tight end or receiver.”
Former Georgia championship quarterback Buck Belue is optimistic about Gilbert, but said there are questions to be answered before the Sept. 4 opening game against Clemson in Charlotte, N.C.
“I like the physical mismatch he has on the perimeter on those 50-50 balls,” Belue said. “I wonder about the lateral quickness, as far as getting off press coverage.
“I know he’s losing weight, but I’m anxious to see how he will perform against tight press coverage.”