Former LSU tight end Arik Gilbert shocked many fans around college football by announcing his decision to de-commit from Florida on Sunday, less than a month after joining the Gators.
“I have decided to decommit from the university of Florida and re-enter the portal. I will not be announcing my final decision until i am enrolled into school and on campus,” Gilbert wrote in a tweet.
As a freshman in 2020, the former No. 5 overall prospect in the Class of 2020 caught 35 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns at LSU. However, the season quickly turned south for the Tigers, who went 5-5 after a 2019 National Championship run. Gilbert opted out of the team’s final two games and expressed his desire to transfer.
He entered the portal and officially announced his arrival at Florida in late January, much to the delight of the Gators’ faithful. That excitement will be short-lived as Gilbert will be headed elsewhere in the near future.
I have decided to decommit from the university of Florida and re-enter the portal. I will not be announcing my final decision until i am enrolled into school and on campus.
— AG2 (@arik_gilbert) February 28, 2021
Gilbert’s announcement means that a highly touted recruit is back on the transfer market once again. The Marietta, Ga. native garnered incredible interest out of high school, earning a five star designation and the No. 1 ranking in the state, according to 247Sports.
Just last week, he earned the top spot on 247Sports’ transfer rankings and would’ve been an impressive get for Dan Mullen and Florida.
“No-brainer top player in the portal who showed flashes in his first year of the type of mismatch weapon he can be,” 247Sports rankings analyst Clint Brewster said. “Special skills in the passing game as he can line up anywhere and make contested catches. All signs point to him being the next great NFL tight end prospect.”
It’s no wonder that the college football world could barely believe Gilbert’s announcement when it appeared on Twitter this weekend.
— Adam Gorney (@adamgorney) February 28, 2021
— Saturday Down South (@SDS) February 28, 2021
So no Arik Gilbert to Florida after all. Wow. https://t.co/QVQhWtHb5N
— Connor O’Gara (@cjogara) February 28, 2021
A handful of college football fans saw Gilbert’s announcement as an opportunity. His Twitter replies were littered with pitches for him to join different programs.
U know the move….. pic.twitter.com/FUl2LXONHS
— Devoht (@devoht) February 28, 2021
Come win a national championship Arik you know the move pic.twitter.com/q9SeBRZDv1
— Connor O’Halloran (@cohalloran23) February 28, 2021
Gilbert’s move comes as a huge surprise, given that his transfer announcement came less than a month ago. While it’s unclear what transpired with Florida over the last 30 days, the talented young tight end clearly didn’t like the fit. Gilbert now claims he won’t publicly announce his next move until he’s already enrolled elsewhere.
Whichever program lands the rising sophomore will get one of the brightest young tight ends in the college game. Although Gilbert may be forced to sit a year, depending on a ruling from the NCAA, he should be able to contribute in the years to come.
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