LSU football has a future stud on their hands in Arik Gilbert.
LSU football tight end Arik Gilbert hasn’t played in a college football game yet, but he’s already approaching legend status in Baton Rouge.
The true freshman has received an insane amount of praise during fall camp from teammates and coaches.
Linebacker Jabril Cox even suggested recently that Gilbert could eventually be the best tight end to ever play college football.
I don’t disagree with Cox.
And it’s not just because of Gilbert’s elite size/speed combination.
It’s because of another trait that separates Gilbert from other genetically gifted athletes.
The trait that will make LSU football’s Arik Gilbert an elite player
Most LSU fans are probably aware that Gilbert is an athletic freak.
Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron has compared Gilbert to former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson on numerous occasions.
Athleticism and size, however, are only half the battle to being a great football player.
It doesn’t matter how big or fast you are in the SEC if you don’t have a high football IQ you’re probably going to struggle.
But fortunately for the Tigers, Gilbert is one of the smartest players on the field.
Need some proof?
Check out this story from Bop Sphire, the Camden County football coach that had to face Gilbert in high school.
From The Athletic:
Early in the game, we had a huge short-yardage play on offense, and Gilbert came in and came off the edge and made the play for lost yardage to stop the drive.
When he made that play on the defense, I’m like, “What do you do?” Because it was an instinctive play. So you knew right away his football IQ, he knew what we were doing. Obviously he watched film. You see that play, and you’re like, “He diagnosed things when the ball was snapped.”
Gilbert is good enough to play defensive end in the SEC (if that’s what he wanted to do). And he’s smart enough to play there, too.
That football IQ — knowing what everyone on the field should be doing at all times — is what’s going to make Gilbert one of the best college football players ever.
It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch Gilbert as a true freshman in 2020. And he’s only going to get better over the next couple of seasons.
That’s a scary thought for the rest of the SEC.