The transfer saga of Arik Gilbert started after his decision to opt out of the 2020 season following eight games with the LSU Tigers in his freshman season. Gilbert missed games against Florida and Ole Miss. The reasoning? "His body was hurt and there were some things he had to take care of," head coach Ed Orgeron told the media in December, 2020.
Gilbert later officially entered the portal on Jan. 2, 2021, clarifying the rumors that spread of his potential departure a month prior. Weeks later, Gilbert committed to play football in 2021 with the Florida Gators. However, he backed out of his commitment a month later, stating, "I will not be announcing my final decision until I am enrolled into school and on campus."
The Marietta, Ga., native now intends to stay home in the state of Georgia after enrolling at Georgia to play for head coach Kirby Smart and the Dawgs.
Of course, it goes without saying that Gilbert is a huge pickup for the Georgia offense. The Bulldogs will be without No. 1 receiver George Pickens for what looks to be the majority of the 2021 season.
Pickens was integral to Georgia's success in the passing game following the emergence of quarterback JT Daniels. Pickens capped off his sophomore season with 513 yards and six touchdowns on 36 receptions with 373 of those yards coming in the final four games of the 2020 season.
In eight games as a true freshman, Gilbert racked up 368 yards and two touchdowns on 35 receptions. Gilbert's production met the expectations of those who saw him coming out of high school.
With the Marietta native staying home in the Peach State for his sophomore season, Gilbert will likely join a receiver room full of talent, lining up next to Jermaine Burton, Kearis Jackson and Darnell Washington at tight end. It is a recipe for an explosive offense as Gilbert gives Georgia the athletic playmaker they sorely need after the loss of Pickens.
Though Gilbert has been known as a tight-end prospect, sources close to the situation have indicated to Dawgs Daily that Gilbert will be playing wide receiver for the majority of snaps.
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