Nation’s No. 1 ATH Arik Gilbert continues to appreciate UGA as his first offer
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least four days a week. Arik Gilbert, a potential cornerstone target for the Bulldogs in the 2020 class, is the featured subject for Monday. He has clear 5-star potential at tight end.
Arik Gilbert has the size and athleticism to do just about anything he wants on Saturdays. Given those traits, there will always be the notion to stick him on the defensive line or on the edge to see all the possible Robert Nkemdiche-like things he could do.
But that is not what the 6-foot-6, 248-pound junior wants to do. His ceiling may be highest on offense.
Gilbert flashes the big plays that show he is a go-to athlete in the passing game nobody will have an answer for.
He took over the Corky Kell 7-on-7 event on Friday at Roswell Park. His Marietta High squad saw the wheels of its passing game fall off prior to the end of pool play. Ramel Keyton, the 4-star Tennessee wide receiver pledge, could not continue. Jermaine Burton, the head-turning future 5-star, also overworked his quad and watched the tournament in a pair of stylish red flip-flops.
It didn’t matter. Gilbert was on duty on a day when his guys wore facial expressions that looked as if they were mimicking a slab of bacon on a skillet. In that offense, the 6-foot-6 junior will be a go-to target and a No. 1 receiver whenever 4-star quarterback Harrison Bailey calls his number.
“Arik is a monster,” Bailey said. “That is all that needs to be said. His ability to run past defenders and high-point the ball is going to make him great in college.”
But Gilbert flashed a warrior’s mentality at the event. That’s something that can’t be found on a highlight reel or a prospect ranking.
“I’m so tired I can’t even think right now,” Gilbert said early on in the championship game against North Gwinnett.
He said that, but then made a play that had two game officials shaking their heads exactly three plays later.
That was shortly before he caught a game-extending touchdown in triple coverage which set up the 2-point conversion which he also caught to force overtime.
Harrison Bailey to Arik Gilbert into triple coverage and Marietta is back within 2! pic.twitter.com/fXbduqNmJQ
— Craig Sager II (@CraigSagerJr) June 15, 2018
Down 2 elite WRs. Down 8. @HBailey_05 finds @arik_gilbert for his umpteenth TD of Corky Kell 7v7. Double or triple coverage? Not at 77 inches plus his reach. Gilbert then caught a fade for the conversion to force OT. @MHS_FBRecruits took the overall title. pic.twitter.com/zxq5TxQR3R
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) June 16, 2018
Marietta would win the Corky Kell 7-on-7 title. Bailey estimated Gilbert might have caught at least 15 touchdowns along the 11 hours of play.
“He probably ran about 800 miles today,” Bailey said. “All of them were either as fast as he could at that moment or he gave it his very best to work to get past fresher guys to get open and then to go get the ball.”
Gilbert, as noted in that picture above, wore a pair of UGA gloves at the event. They served him well. Why did he make that wardrobe decision?
“I just had a good feeling about wearing the Georgia gloves today,” Gilbert said. “I liked the grip on them, too.”
Is it more than just gloves with Arik Gilbert and UGA?
In case you missed it, the Bulldogs picked up a pair of 2019 commits over the weekend. Mississippi QB John Rhys Plumlee committed to UGA on Friday night. That’s at least one of the necessary QB signees the program needs for that specific depth chart.
Sam Pittman also got one of his guys in Rhode Island 4-star tackle Xavier Truss. Truss, the nation’s No. 15 tackle for 2019 on the 247Sports composite, committed to UGA over the weekend.
The 6-foot-7.5, 350-pound senior rates as the top player in Rhode Island. He’s the first of at least two tackles the Bulldogs need for 2019. Those two additions pushed UGA past South Carolina to fifth overall on the 247Sports team composite standings for 2019.
Gilbert would have to be seen as a potential cornerstone recruit for 2020. He just has that much ability and potential. He currently ranks as the nation’s No. 11 overall prospect for 2020 by 247Sports.
“I’m probably a tight end,” Gilbert said. “That’s because I feel the most comfortable there and I like scoring.”
Simply put, he’s a 5-star recruit that is just waiting on that designation to arrive.
“I was trying to go get it,” Gilbert said of that catch in triple coverage. “Just was trying to give all I had for a ball that could have been our last play. I saw it in the air. Had to go get it.”
His thoughts on Georgia remain constant. His words sound the same as they have in previous interviews.
My feeling is that he’s reached a point where he is very comfortable with the program.
“It is a good school,” Gilbert said. “I really like it. That was my first offer and I know I always say that. But I was really impressed by how they saw me first and felt strongly enough about me to offer first and all that.”
The Bulldogs continue to work him hard.
“The relationship has gotten a lot stronger,” Gilbert said. “I have a really good relationship with those coaches. I know all of them really well.”
He said that the relationships he has with the coaches would be the biggest thing he likes about the Bulldogs.
Gilbert does plan to enroll early. The expected timeline is for him to cut down his options to a few core schools next spring and then make his decision sometime prior to the 2019 season.
He was clearly exhausted after the event on Friday, but he said Clemson, Penn State, Southern Cal and Tennessee were the other schools on his mind at this time.
“That’s all I can think of right now,” he said.
A few more quick-hitters for the day
- North Carolina defensive tackle target C.J. Clark will release his college decision at 2 p.m. ET Monday through Twitter. Georgia, North Carolina and N.C. State are his top choices. There has been a lot of buzz and indecision regarding this one across various published reports.
- I simply don’t see 4-star junior QB Harrison Bailey strongly considering Georgia going forward. Bailey told me on Friday that the Bulldogs aren’t really recruiting him. That’s a clear sign that he will wind up elsewhere, as Bailey hopes to make his college commitment sometime during his junior year if the Devils are having a strong season. He said that the Bulldogs have been telling him that they were going to wait on securing their 2019 QB commitments before working on their top 2020 targets. He’s a special talent. Especially with the way he thinks in the pocket. He’s really sharp and has very good field awareness to go along with the arm. Marietta coach Richard Morgan called Bailey “the best quarterback in America” after Marietta won the Corky Kell 7-on-7 on Friday.
Bailey has been impressed with several recent visits of late. He told me that he really enjoyed recent visits to Alabama, Michigan and Ohio State. The way he broke it down, he made it seem like that trip to Ann Arbor was one of the best college visits he has taken so far. In the 7-on-7 competition, Bailey moved the Marietta offense down the field at will and also while taking deep shots, too. At the end of the day, he had guys who had never played receiver before snatching big passes, including the game-winning touchdown. Great quarterbacks do that even while down three of their best receivers.
- Bailey plans to narrow his choices down soon, but he will do so privately. “I am going to keep it private to myself,” he said. “Just because I feel it is attention getting to release something on Twitter. I am going to take a couple more visits and then I will see from there where I am going to go to school.” He plans on making his choice at some time during his junior year. “If we are winning and we are rolling, that’s when I plan on making it. But if we are struggling, then I will focus more this fall on my team and our season and not my college decision.”
- North Gwinnett cornerback Quinton Newsome continues to keep UGA among his top options. He still feels that there is a good fit there. He got the chance to camp at UGA recently for the 7-on-7 event. That’s why no alarms should go off just yet when he starts naming his official visits. Newsome told me that he plans to start off with visits to Alabama and Auburn and he’s not currently considering the Bulldogs for one of those just yet. He currently rates as a 3-star recruit and as the nation’s No. 49 safety, per the 247Sports composite rankings.
- Newsome’s teammate also has made some news on Monday. North Gwinnett cornerback Warren Burrell has eliminated several schools from consideration. That will include Georgia. Rivals.com’s Chad Simmons has the full breakdown of his reasoning behind that move and the schools still in the mix. Someone will get a very good cornerback from Georgia here. The 3-star ranks as the nation’s No. 43 cornerback for 2019. What he lacks in size, he more than compensates with technique and tenacity.
- Burrell can play the game at any level. The highest level. Yet I realize that a lot of evaluations get caught up in his 6-foot frame and 175 pounds. He told me that the Bulldogs were basically just recruiting him hard enough to keep the seat warm. “I just didn’t get a lot of communication with those coaches as much as I did with the others,” Burrell said. “Of course, I did hear from them but [those] four schools clearly showed me that they want me in their program.”
Makiya Tongue official visit recap
Louisiana product Makiya Tongue visited UGA over the weekend on an official. The 4-star prospect rates as the nation’s No. 16 athlete. The University Lab (Baton Rouge, La.) senior hopes to be a receiver on Saturdays, but there is some indecision about whether he is a safety.
Tongue had zero indecision about whether he enjoyed his trip to UGA. It was the sort of visit that sparked at least a couple of 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions to UGA.
Louisiana sports writer Jerit Roser caught up with Tongue at the Pylon 7-on-7 Nationals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday for a trip recap.
What are the big takeaways from that conversation?
- He loved the visit and really connected with the coaching staff. “They really understand the players,” he said.
- Athens remains undefeated as a college town on a visit weekend
- He was impressed with the overall program and the winning tradition at UGA
- Georgia likes him as a receiver. Cortez Hankton, the first-year receivers coach for the Bulldogs, also recruits Louisiana. Hankton, a New Orleans native, should do well in that state going forward.
— Jerit Roser (@JeritRoser) June 17, 2018
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