Tight end Arik Gilbert stunned college football fans this past weekend after he announced that he would de-commit from Florida and enter the transfer portal for the second time this year. The class of 2020 five-star recruit just joined the Gators this offseason after opting out of the last two games of his freshman season at LSU.
Gilbert proved to be a reliable pass-catcher almost immediately for the Tigers. Despite LSU’s struggles, he caught 35 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns. Ed Orgeron’s program limped along to a 3-5 record before Gilbert opted out. LSU closed out its season with back-to-back wins.
Given his natural ability and capable freshman year, Gilbert will rocket to the top of transfer boards once again. The five star tight end ranked No. 1, according to the 247Sports list of the best available transfer targets before his commitment to Florida. Now that he’s in the portal again, he’s sure to get looks from plenty of programs.
Some pleas for Gilbert’s commitment have already been made. Even Tennessee quarterback Harrison Bailey did his best to pitch the Volunteers to the available tight end.
Come Ball FAMILY.
— Harrison Bailey (@HBailey_05) February 28, 2021
Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time Bailey has tried to get Gilbert to join him in Knoxville. The Volunteers quarterback also tweeted at the five star when he first entered the portal back in January. Gilbert ultimately chose the Gators, despite Bailey’s recruiting skills.
Part of the reason that the Tennessee quarterback continues to reach out is because the two players were high school teammates. Bailey and Gilbert formed quite the combo at Marietta High school, where they led the program to its first Georgia state championship in over 50 years.
However, given the turmoil within the Tennessee program, it seems unlikely that Gilbert will make way for Knoxville this offseason. With his raw talent and plenty of upside, the young tight end should be able to land on a competitive team this spring.