Skip to main content

LSU Football Tight End Room Bare After Arik Gilbert Announcement

Tigers to rely heavily on Kole Taylor in 2021, where does the tight end room go

The news of Arik Gilbert entering the NCAA transfer portal should come as a shock to nobody but LSU now officially has a shortage at the tight end position. 

In addition to Gilbert, Tory Carter recently announced he would not be returning to the Tigers and will instead enter the 2021 NFL draft. That leaves freshman Kole Taylor, sophomore Nick Storz, Devonta Lee and Aaron Moffitt as the four scholarship tight ends for LSU while incoming freshman Jalen Shead will be the newcomer of the group from the 2021 signing class. 

The coaching staff was extremely high on Taylor, a 6-foot-7 tight end out of Colorado, but he didn't receive much playing time until Gilbert elected to opt out of the 2020 season. In those final two games against Florida and Ole Miss, Taylor brought in five receptions for 33 yards. 

Of course at this point in his career, Taylor is most famous for the thrown shoe that helped LSU win that game in Gainesville in one of the most bizarre finishes of the 2020 season. But Taylor has the frame and athleticism to be a difference maker in this offense next season.

An offseason in the weight room and just development as a whole should help him benefit into a much more successful 2021 season. 

Read More

"He's been in here working hard, as long as I've been here. It looks like he's gonna get thrust into the role this week but it's just another opportunity for him," center Liam Shanahan said. "I'm sure he's going to be pretty hard with it this week to make sure he's ready to take advantage of this opportunity." 

The real question comes with who can step up after Taylor. Storz was plucked from the baseball team and will be spending the spring with those guys so his development could be stunted a little bit until baseball finishes in the early summer. 

Like Taylor, Storz didn't see the field much as an offensive player but did play a role on special teams throughout the season, making one tackle in the final game against Ole Miss. 

The freshman Shead didn't start playing varsity football until his junior year of high school but quickly established himself as one of Mississippi's top prospects. He was known more for his blocking skills at Olive Branch High School and will likely take some time to develop before being ready to play. 

Lee has bounced around a lot in his short time with the Tigers. After starting his career at receiver, Lee moved to linebacker for a short stint before making the transition to tight end. He's appeared in 21 games over his two-year career but has failed to make much of an impact outside of special teams. 

It's crystal clear that this is a position group that LSU will be hoping takes major strides in development as there isn't much experience as a whole on the roster.