ATHENS — Former Marietta High School star Arik Gilbert could be leaning toward leaving the LSU football program, per multiple reports.
There’s speculation his former Marietta High School teammate, BJ Ojulari, might also leave the struggling program.
Gilbert, a 6-foot-5, 249-pounder, has 35 catches for 368 yards and two touchdowns this season for the Tigers. Ojulari, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound rush end, has four sacks this season, proving he could indeed prove better than his four-star rank.
There has been no confirmation that either player has placed their names in the NCAA transfer portal yet, however.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron told a radio station on Tuesday morning that Gilbert, a former 5-star recruit rated the nation’s No. 1 tight end, might opt out and did not practice for the Tigers’ game at Florida next Saturday.
“If he opts out and he wants to come back, definitely I’m going to take him back,” Orgeron said, per an ESPN report. “He’s a great player and a great young man. I recruited him and we treat him like family, just like everybody else.”
Per 247Sports, Gilbert could be homesick
Ojulari, the younger brother of Georgia Bednarik Award semifinalist Azeez Ojulari, was originally committed to Tennessee.
The Bulldogs could be among the teams interested in both players.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart has talked about the explosive nature he’s looking for on offense with Monken calling the plays and USC transfer JT Daniels settling in as the quarterback of the future.
Gilbert has taken notice of how the Bulldogs made use of the tight ends before.
The Bulldogs also may be looking to replace starting outside linebacker, Azeez Ojulari, who is eligible to declare himself eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Orgeron, meanwhile, is working to maintain a strong front amid all the turmoil around his program.
In addition to the football problems on the field, most recently a 55-17 loss to Alabama, LSU has had off the field issues.
A USA Today investigative store reported LSU mishandled sexual misconduct complaints against students and athletes, including former football players.
“Here’s what I’ll tell you,” Orgeron said, per the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. “A year ago we were the best team in the country. We’re going to find out who’s really behind us. We’re going to find out who really loves the Tigers.”