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Tight end Arik Gilbert has returned to the Georgia football program and is working with teammates as the Bulldogs prepare for spring practice, USA Today reports.

Gilbert missed all of Georgia's 2021 national championship season because of personal reasons. The former 5-star prospect transferred to UGA away from LSU last season after briefly pledging to Florida.

Gilbert is expected to be a full participant when the Bulldogs open practice. Head coach Kirby Smart wished the player a happy birthday on Twitter recently, a signal that he was still a part of the team.

Gilbert led LSU in receiving as a true freshman after Terrace Marshall opted out in November. He had 35 receptions for 368 yards and two touchdowns in eight games. Gilbert originally transferred to Florida, but backed out of the Gators program before deciding on Georgia.

“Coming home, I believe it was a smart decision to come home. I wanted to be with and near my family,” Gilbert said at the time, via 247Sports. ”I have been missing all of family and now both of my grandmothers will be able see me play in person, too.”

Arik Gilbert rated as the No. 1 overall player in the state of Georgia as a recruit. Analysts ranked him as the No. 5 player in the nation and the top tight end in America. Georgia's website listed Gilbert as a wide receiver.

He joins what figures to be a loaded receiving group for the Bulldogs this fall. Brock Bowers, one of the top young tight ends in college football, returns, in addition to Darnell Washington, Kearis Jackson, and A.D. Mitchell.

Gilbert's arrival also comes at an opportune time after Jermaine Burton, Georgia's leading receiver last season, transferred to Alabama for the 2022 season.

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