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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
5-star ATH Arik Gilbert is one of the biggest priorities in the 2020 class for Georgia.

How does the mother of 5-star priority target Arik Gilbert feel about Georgia?

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. The play here calls for a chat with Akiba Gilbert and her son Arik Gilbert. You may have heard of him. The 5-star recruit shows up on the stat sheet with great frequency. 

Akiba Gilbert shared a few minutes of her time with DawgNation recently. When she did, she spilled a big secret right out of the gate when it comes to her son Arik.

School choice? No, that’s still to be determined. But it seems her son’s previous walkthrough of the pronunciation of his name was not entirely accurate.

“Who is this A-RIQUE?,” Akiba Gilbert said when she spied the video of Gilbert breaking down the proper phonetics.

The nation’s No. 1 ATH for 2020 (247Sports Composite) went heavy on the hot sauce while sharing the proper way to say his first name. He did so, she was told, in order to draw attention to the fact that everyone usually messes up his first name.

For the record, it is not “A-RIQUE” as in Dominique Wilkins of Atlanta Hawks fame. It is “A-RICK” as in rhyming his first name with “brick” when done correctly.

This, it seems, was a hysterical moment in the Gilbert family. Especially given how “A-RICK” even walked DawgNation through the ropes of it on camera. 

“I know,” she said. “It was on camera. When his Dad and I saw that, we just could not believe it. We were like ‘Who is that?’ and I was like ‘Ok, A-RIQUE. Go ahead A-RIQUE’ with that.”

Arik Gilbert-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Arik Gilbert rates as the nation’s No. 1 ATH and the nation’s No. 11 overall prospect for 2020 on the well-known 247Sports Composite. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Mom Intel: Arik Gilbert and Team Gilbert on UGA 

Smart coaching staffs know it is vital to invest in a relationship with the entire family. Who recruits Team Gilbert well and not just “A-RICK” here?

“UGA, Clemson, Tennessee, Auburn,” she said. “I don’t want to leave anybody out. I sure hope I do not, but those are the biggest ones I can think of.”

In an attempt to look at this a little differently, she was asked a question about what her son’s recruiting relationship with UGA feels like. Does it seem like a common high school relationship?

Nothing steady. No serious commitment. But a whole lot of folks seem to think that they are going to end up together.

She nodded when she heard that.

“You know what?” Akiba Gilbert said. “That’s what I said with that and UGA in regard to their recruiting. It is almost like they are recruiting from the side of a boyfriend or a girlfriend or vice versa trying to get the girlfriend. I really think that is it.”

She expanded on that thought.

Arik Gilbert-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Arik Gilbert has definitely looked like he can dodge even the tightest shadows so far playing for Hustle, Inc. this spring in the 7-on-7 world. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

“What I really appreciate in any kind of recruiting program and there’s a clear difference here with this,” she said. “Because I think the recruiting program stands alone and outside of the football program. The big difference here is all the details. And I love the detail that UGA just puts into their recruiting program.”

“Because I feel like if you are that meticulous in your recruiting, then you have to also be that meticulous within your football program. To me, that is a direct correlation.”

What is her favorite thing about Georgia? Is it the degree? Location? Position fit? Need? Priority? She really couldn’t put her finger on just one.

It was all of it. Basically.

“I think what I like best about Georgia is I want to say the coaches,” Akiba Gilbert said. “The coaches. Just the personalities. From coach [Kirby] Smart. I really love coach [Dell] McGee because he’s just kind of like that big brother or big uncle type of personality.”

“Then there’s [Director of Recruiting Administration] Christina [Harris] down with the academics. Then the names of all their academic I guess you would say ‘coaches’ with that there. Their academic program coordinators. But not just that, but the life skills program coordinators down there. I really think just that it is more than anything the people [at Georgia] who put in that detail and all of their many thought processes within the program. That is what makes all their programs really outstanding and really stand out.”

A mother’s perspective on her 5-star son’s decision 

Akiba’s name, also for the record, is just like the 5-star son’s version. “A-Keeba” is the right call here.

Gilbert just went on a big spring break tour. He saw LSU, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, among others. He has also been turning heads on the 7-on-7 circuit.

Akiba Gilbert feels her son is handling this rather well. He should. Gilbert has the broad shoulders and the 80-inch wingspan for it.

“I don’t think he’s stressed,” she said. “Just because we try to keep the right perspective on it. The biggest thing is to keep the right perspective. Just to realize how blessed and fortunate of an opportunity this is. That’s the main thing. The opportunity.”

“That’s the main thing to look at it like. There are so many other people that could have been in your position. So many other people who came before you. Because we are a family of athletes, you know? We just try to make sure he never takes that opportunity for granted.”

Those opportunities also mean people. Assistant coaches and head coaches who want to woo him. Players that want to play with him. Quarterbacks who especially want to play with him.

“He’s going to just keep counting all of this up as blessings and take advantage of it.”

Arik Gilbert-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
The shorts for this workout? These were totally Arik Gilbert’s call. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

We asked Mrs. Gilbert about this fashion choices her son displayed above. The shoes. The gloves. The Hawaiian Tropic shorts.

“That was all Arik,” she said. “He walked into my room this morning and was like ‘Momma’ and I was like ‘Is that what you are going with’ and I told him that he better make certain that you put in the good work going to go out like that.”

“You better make certain going in [to the Atlanta Opening] with that on you better make certain you are going there to work.”

That athletic background for Team Gilbert is no joke. That’s why Arik started getting recruited and picked up his offer from UGA prior to enrolling in high school.

  • Akiba Gilbert played college basketball at what was UNC-Charlotte and is now Charlotte University
  • His grandfather played basketball at Jackson State University
  • Gilbert’s grandmother had basketball scholarship offers, but never took advantage of those
  • His father played basketball at Georgia Military College and Albany State University, but he also played football
  • His uncles were all standout basketball players
  • Arik is basically the first football player from a family of basketball players

What did Arik Gilbert say lately about this decision?

Gilbert feels like he is getting “closer and closer” to his decision.

The spring visits were part of a big data search for Gilbert. LSU, Oklahoma and Texas A&M have splendid programs. It was a chance for him to see a different slice of big-time football compared to the more familiar and easier-to-get-to Alabamas, Clemsons, Georgias and Tennesse Vols of the South.

“Probably more of a discovery,” he said about the trip. “Like on the West coast I haven’t been there a lot so just seeing what they have to offer out there.”

Harrison Bailey, the 4-star QB of his Marietta High team, is basically 24/7 on the #GBO chant to try to throw passes his way for at least three more years in the SEC. Bailey is a long-time commit to Tennessee.

The 6-foot-5.5 Gilbert shined at the Atlanta Opening regional late last month. He was invited to the national finals this July out in Texas.

Arik Gilbert-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Arik Gilbert said he is definitely looking for a tight end-friendly offense with his decision. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

He finished with a 113.34 Opening football rating from combine testing at 245 pounds. The combine numbers for him included a 1) 4.83 laser in the 40; 2) 4.50 short shuttle; 3) 34.7-inch vertical leap and a 4) Powerball toss of 46 feet.

The advice tossed out usually is for athletes to make sure to rest about 24-36 hours prior to the event. Gilbert took another route with that. He was dripping sweat at a training session the day prior to competing.

“I’ve been really trying to work this spring just to get my game to another level,” he said. “Trying to come back next year stronger.”

What is his decision really about right now?

“Definitely looking at tight end-friendly schools,” he said. “That’s probably the truest thing I can tell you right now.”

If this decision is close, he said he might not commit prior to his senior season. He would like to commit over the summer. That’s what it sounds like, but he will not push a bad decision.

“The reason I am just taking my time is I want to make the best decision for me,” Gilbert said. “I don’t want to just choose somewhere and not be happy.”

The aim here is to simply make the right decision. The first time. There’s essentially no timeline attached, but maybe more of a feeling about a good ballpark time to get it done.

“If the decision comes like way too close towards the beginning of the season I will just wait a little bit,” he said. “Then probably wait until mid-season to commit.”

Georgia tight ends coach Todd Hartley has made an impression in his first few months at that post.

“He really likes me and I really like him,” Gilbert said. “Obviously his history. He brings that up a lot with  [2017 NFL first-round draft pick] David Njoku and those guys in Miami. That’s basically what we talk about.”

Hartley has told Gilbert he’s trying to change up the way the tight end position is used in the UGA offense. How is Hartley different than the three other tight end coaches who have been talking to him across the last three seasons?

“He definitely seems like more of a family guy,” Gilbert said. “He’s just like really nice. I haven’t seen him obviously like in a game so I don’t know how he runs the tight ends.”

What else did he say? Check out the entire DawgNation conversation from the Atlanta Opening below.

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.


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