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Arik Gilbert Officially Headed To Georgia

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NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

After picking up one of the most sought after defensive players in the college football transfer portal, Kirby Smart has also added one of the most coveted offensive players. As had been expected for a few days, former Marietta High standout and LSU receiver Arik Gilbert has announced that he will also be transferring to Georgia.

Gilbert selected LSU as part of the class of 2020, in which he was the top tight end in the country and 247Sports’ top player in the state of Georgia. The sting of watching him go out of state was lessened to some extent by the commitment of Las Vegas tight end/cyborg Darnell Washington. But the two had openly discussed the possibility of playing together in college, and the prospect of that tantalized Bulldog fans.

It now appears they’ll get the chance to see it. The phrase is bandied about too much in recruiting and player evaluation circles, but Gilbert is truly a unique talent. A 6’5, 250 pound tight end/wide receiver/H-back who’s a matchup nightmare both inside and outside. A guy with the size to body up and overwhelm corners but the route running skills and quickness to befuddle linebackers.

Gilbert tallied 35 catches for 368 yards and 2 touchdowns as a true freshman in 2020. And he had some of his most productive games late in the year, snatching 19 of those receptions from Halloween (when he caught 6 for 55 yards in a loss to Auburn) through the season finale against Alabama (in which he grabbed 5 catches).

Whereas the pick up of Derion Kendrick could be viewed as Kirby Smart grabbing an instant impact player at a position of need, Gilbert’s decision to bolster the UGA receiving corps is more a matter of the rich getting richer. If you count him as a tight end he joins a unit which includes veterans John FitzPatrick and Washington, to say nothing of freshman Brock Bowers who turned heads at G Day. The outside receivers led by Jermaine Burton, Demetris Robertson, and Arian Smith are a mixture of proven veterans and promising underclassmen.

But Gilbert is a difference maker. A player who with proper game planning and the right matchups may well take over games this fall. Indeed, the 2021 Georgia Bulldogs got a lot better today and if you’re excited about that, it’s warranted. Today could have been one of those days we remember for some time to come in Bulldog Nation.