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AP
Arik Gilbert annoucned that he would not be transferring to Florida.

Arik Gilbert decommits from Florida, to re-enter transfer portal

Just over a month after former 5-star tight end Arik Gilbert announced he would be transferring to Florida, he has since backed off that pledge.

Gilbert announced on Twitter that he was de-committing and would announce his school of choice once he is officially enrolled at a school.

“I have decided to decommit from the university of Florida and re-enter the portal,” Gilbert tweeted. “I will not be announcing my final decision until i am enrolled into school and on campus.”

Gilbert spent his freshman season at LSU, catching 35 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns. The Marietta, Ga., native was the top player in the state of Georgia for the 2020 recruiting cycle and the highest-rated tight end prospect in the history of recruiting rankings.

Given the success Dan Mullen and Florida had with Kyle Pitts this past season, Florida seemed like a rational landing spot for Gilbert. Georgia was heavily involved in his recruitment coming out of high school but he ultimately signed with LSU. Georgia did land 5-star athlete Darnell Washington in the 2020 cycle. He caught seven passes for 166 yards in his freshman season.

Related: Arik Gilbert may have been a want for Georgia football, but he wasn’t a need for tight end room

The Bulldogs signed 4-star tight end Brock Bowers in the 2021 recruiting cycle and are heavily involved in the recruitment of the nation’s top tight end in the 2022 cycle in Oscar Delp.

One possible reason why Gilbert reneged on the decision to go to Florida is that the NCAA has not yet approved the one-time transfer rule. There is also the fact that the SEC has a rule that forces players who transfer within the conference to sit out a season, even if they are granted a waiver by the NCAA. The league did waive this rule for the 2020 season and pointed to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic as to why.

Related: Dreshun Miller committing to Auburn is why Kirby Smart chuckles at transfer portal fascination

Florida has done very well in the transfer portal in recent seasons under Mullen, landing former 5-star recruits such as defensive end Brenton Cox and running back DeMarcus Bowman. Florida has to replace Pitts, along with its other two top pass catchers from the 2020. Florida will also have a new quarterback, as Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson compete to take over for Kyle Trask.

The Gilbert news drew a big reaction out of college football fans and media members alike on Sunday.

The Gators did beat Georgia 44-28 this past season. Pitts left the game in the second quarter but not before catching two passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. Georgia and Florida will play on Oct. 30 in Jacksonville, Fla., this season.

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