Kirby Smart updates latest on tight end Arik Gilbert ahead of SEC championship game against LSU

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Arik Gilbert had both his first catch and his first touchdown as a Georgia Bulldog on October 15, 2022, in Athens, Georgia. (Jeff Sentell/ DawgNation)

ATHENS — Georgia may not have a former LSU Tiger available on Saturday, as Arik Gilbert has not dressed for Georgia in either of the last two games.

The former 5-star prospect signed with LSU as a recruit in the 2020 recruiting cycle. He caught 35 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns in eight games as a freshman at LSU before entering the transfer portal.

He ultimately ended up at Georgia ahead of the 2021 season. He stepped away from the team in August of last year before rejoining the team in January. He last played for the Bulldogs against Vanderbilt, where he caught two passes for 16 yards, one of which resulted in a touchdown.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart provided an update on Gilbert, who was not seen in uniform for Saturday’s win over Georgia Tech.

“We’re trying to help him be the best person he can on and off the field, and that’s decisions we make each and every week,” Smart said.

Without Gilbert, Georgia still has plenty of options in the tight end room. Brock Bowers is the team’s leading receiver this season, while Darnell Washington has also provided a boost to the Georgia passing attack.

LSU coach Brian Kelly arrived after Gilbert had left the program, but he knows Georgia’s talented group of tight ends will provide problems for the LSU defense.

I think ‘lethal’ is a good word,” Kelly said. “Darnell Washington is a large person, 6′7″. I mean, there’s nobody that really has a favorable matchup against him. Then Bowers, he’s a Lombardi Award finalist. Coach Monken gets him involved in everything from handoff sweeps to I don’t know if he’s thrown the ball yet, but I’m sure he will. He’s just a versatile player. He’s a guy that can break games open.

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