Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The subject for Thursday will be a chat with likely future 5-star ATH Arik Gilbert from Marietta (Ga.) High School.
Gilbert is a member of the Class of 2020, but DawgNation feels this is a name that Georgia fans need to know sooner rather than later.
Arik Gilbert, a class of 2020 standout, was invited to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl for that year.
He immediately accepted.
If that seems like things are moving too fast for any prospect, get used to it. That is the new normal for a likely future 5-star player. The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder flashed his immense skill set as a receiver last spring on the 7-on-7 circuit.
Gilbert will line up at defensive end today in the 2017 Georgia Elite Classic sophomores game. If pressed, I’d project that as his future college position.
But he’s smart enough to realize he might have a future as a tight end, too. 247Sports currently rates him as the nation’s No. 2 athlete and the No. 18 overall prospect for 2020.
He plays for Marietta High School. The Blue Devils are going to contend for state and national titles for the next two years. Coach Richard Morgan’s squad will be flush with a lot of blue-chip players to pair with Gilbert.
Elite quarterback Harrison Bailey already is rated as the nation’s No. 2 pro-style QB for 2020. Four-star weakside defensive end BJ Ojulari checks in at No. 28 overall, and recent 4-star offensive tackle transfer Jake Wray (No. 98 overall) makes it four Devils who rate among the nation’s top 100 prospects for 2020.
Congrats to @MHS_FBRecruits sophomore DE/TE @arik_gilbert for his invite to the @ArmyAllAmerican in 2020. @Mansell247 extended the invite at Day 1 of the @GAEliteClassic today. pic.twitter.com/m0lkCo24GS
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) December 26, 2017
UGA will have a strong chance to sign Arik Gilbert
Gilbert said he saw the perfect template to become an All-American when he transferred from Class 4A Woodward Academy to Class 7A Marietta this season.
He said he’s learned a lot from recent UGA signee Azeez Ojulari.
“The thing I learned the most was about his hard work and his tireless ethic,” Gilbert said. “That’s on the field. Weight room. Everywhere. He’s always going 100 percent. That’s what I picked up from him.”
Gilbert said he thought he was working hard, but the example set by Ojulari motivated him to ratchet up his intensity to a new level.
He said he is actually working toward making his college decision.
“I’m trying to get to a decision right now,” he said. “As soon as I know where I want to go, I will do it.”
How far away would that be? He said he could “maybe” make his decision before his junior season in high school.
Gilbert already has started making college visits.
“I’ve been to Georgia a lot,” he said. “That’s probably one of the big ones. When I do [make a decision] that will probably be one of the [schools] I have in mind.”
The fact that Ojulari will be there will boost the program’s chances. What else does he like about UGA?
“Every time I go down there I am like family,” Gilbert said. “Everybody knows me. I know everybody down there.”
He said he feels that type of comfort at both Alabama and Georgia. He also has been to Clemson a couple of times.
Could he play as far away at a USC or a UCLA?
“I could but my family wants me to stay in-state or like close to the state,” Gilbert said. “Maybe just in the Southeast.”
The conversation Kirby Smart had with Arik Gilbert
Gilbert is unique. Gilbert says he’s a big fan of the movie Shark Boy and Lava Girl, but there’s also a forward-thinking side to his future.
Gilbert will not just be about football in college. That was evident in a recent conversation with coach Kirby Smart.
“He asked me what my major was likely going to be,” Gilbert said, who admitted that was still uncertain.
But Smart got an example of what he was thinking. He made his case.
“I told him it was going to be between getting my law degree or maybe even becoming a doctor,” Gilbert said.
There are a few more things to know about Gilbert.
- Georgia was his first offer.
- Ace recruiter Dell McGee is running point for the Bulldogs with this prospect.
- What’s the message there? “He just tells you how you are going to fit into the program,” Gilbert said. “He tells you about the culture there and he’s just honest. … He’s making the school seem really good.”
UGA no longer seems to be chasing a pair of 2019 recruits
Keiondre Jones. Curtis Fann.
Those highly rated prospects for 2019 are no longer receiving strong recruiting attention from UGA.
Jones, who received his UGA offer in the summer after middle school, rates as the nation’s No. 3 offensive guard prospect for 2019. He checks in at No. 63 overall in that class.
The Bulldogs have made Costco trips to stock up at guard with Trey Hill and Jamaree Salyer in 2018 and Netori Johnson and Justin Shaffer in 2017.
Jones is a talent, but it appears offensive line coach Sam Pittman has prioritized 4-star Harry Miller and 5-star LSU commit Kardell Thomas for 2019.
Florida seems to be a team to watch out for with him. Jones told me at Rising Seniors this week that newly signed quarterback Emory Jones has started reaching out to him.
He doesn’t have a leader, but Florida should have a chance. Jones said he and the new Florida quarterback as cousins of some distinction along the family tree.
Who’s really in it for him now?
“I would say Bama and South Carolina,” Jones said. “They have been on me pretty hard. Florida is in it for me now that Emory is going there. Florida State is in it. Clemson is in it.”
Jones wore a South Carolina jacket Wednesday. He said he plans to make his commitment in the summer.
I’m not sure the Bulldogs will even take two guards in 2019, especially given the starting run made by redshirt freshman Solomon Kindley this year and the versatility of 2018 signee Warren Ericson.
There is a dearth of true offensive tackles on the roster, especially at left tackle. Andrew Thomas seems to be the only true left tackle for next season. Maybe 2017 junior college signee D’Marcus Hayes can become a reliable option there. Owen Condon will get a look there in his freshman year. He also could redshirt.
Ben Cleveland, Cade Mays and Isaiah Wilson all seem to have a skill set that meshes better at right tackle than on the left side. At least for 2018.
Fann said he also hasn’t heard much of late from the school he grew up rooting for. The 4-star defensive line prospect ranks as the nation’s No. 16 weakside DE and the No. 252 overall prospect for 2019.
The 6-3, 250-pound player recently named a final four that included Auburn, Clemson, Florida and South Carolina. The Gamecocks were the first to offer Fann and now sound like they have the inside track.
This is a good example that UGA is recruiting at a higher level than ever if coaches already know that two in-state players of this caliber are not in the plans for 2019.
Fann is going to make someone very happy. He can play inside or outside on the line, and he’s at least a tick or two better than his current ranking. He seems like a top-150 talent to me. At least.
A lot of the state’s highly rated juniors took the all-star circuit off this week. Not Fann.
“I don’t want to be sitting at home all week on my butt,” he said. “I want to come out here, compete and get better. That’s what football is all about.”
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