The number, according to Arik Gilbert, was 13.
It might not matter what figure the official scorers arrived at for catches by Georgia tight ends on G-Day, but the one that Gilbert will.
13. DawgNation probably hopes that will be a lucky number for the program with the recruitment of the 5-star ATH and easily one of the biggest 2020 recruiting targets.
He projects to be a hybrid receiver/tight end on the college level. That’s why those stats are of interest to him when it comes to the Bulldogs.
As it turns out, he was right. The catches from the tight end group added up like this:
- 5: Senior TE Charlie Woerner
- 5: Redshirt freshman TE John FitzPatrick
- 3: Redshirt freshman preferred walk-on Peyton Mercer
- Total catches by tight ends in 2018: 43 (30 by NFL draft target Isaac Nauta)
- Total catches by tight ends at G-Day in 2018: 5
That was one of the things that Gilbert mentioned as he jogged through his recall of yet another trip he took to Georgia for G-Day. The Bulldogs had 43 catches by its tight ends in 2018. The new Coley system was able to get 30 percent of that total in the final spring scrimmage.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Gilbert has mentioned that he wants to find a “tight end-friendly” offense to call his college home for the three-to-four years beyond his senior high school season.
The chance for camaraderie among other elite recruits with a common interest in potentially taking advantage of their scholarship offers from UGA was another big takeaway.
“Just being around some of the best guys in the class was cool,” Gilbert said. “Just knowing that we were all there and we could think that if we all went there then it would be a really special team. It was that and it was just good being down there and seeing them throw to the tight end in the game, too.”
He noticed. Georgia needs to do more than just tell Gilbert the tight end is going to need to be game planned against in 2019. James Coley’s new offense needed to show him that.
“I would see them go out on routes a lot like with the receivers,” he said. “Often at that.”
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Arik Gilbert did notice how many balls that Georgia’s tight ends caught on G-Day. He even quoted the exact number. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Arik Gilbert and a chance to get to know other 5-stars
Gilbert has seen all of those pictures on social media. What do 5-star recruits say when they group up together and watch pregame warm-ups for a team they are all considering?
The 5-star ATH from Marietta High School was in several of those shots at G-Day.
“We had a conversation,” Gilbert said.
As for the depth of those chats, he politely declined to answer with anything more than a smile or a nod.
Arik Gilbert enjoyed the chance to talk to other elite 5-star recruits on G-Day. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
It wasn’t about the soggy weather and uncommon chill inside Sanford Stadium for a late April day, though. It was not that.
“Let’s say that it is classified information,” he said. “We were talking.”
Gilbert remembers that conversation out there on the field with both 5-star CB Kelee Ringo and 5-star OLB Mekhail Sherman. It was a moment of convenience at the very least. Maybe even fortuitous.
Each of those young men rates nationally on the 247Sports Composite rankings for 2020. Gilbert is No. 11. Ringo is No. 12. Sherman is No. 13.
Ringo only goes to school about 1,852 miles west of his locker at Marietta High School. Sherman, who plays for St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., is only a mere 651 miles north.
Gilbert felt he enjoyed cutting it up with Sherman.
“I can tell he is really passionate,” Gilbert said. “He clearly loves playing football. When he talks, it really sounds like he loves what he is talking about and that he knows what he is talking about. It seems like he is a good leader, too.”
When he learned about Sherman’s 4.5 speed on the laser in the 40 back in July of 2017 at The Opening, he had a clear reaction.