LSU Football: What is going on with Arik Gilbert?

Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

The strange saga of former (?) LSU football tight end Arik Gilbert took another turn on Sunday.

Gilbert, who opted out of the 2020 season with two games left, announced in late January his intentions to transfer to Florida and play for Dan Mullen and the Gators.

Those plans have apparently changed.

Gilbert tweeted on Sunday that he’s decommitting from Florida (he hadn’t enrolled yet) and re-entering the transfer portal.

What’s happening with former LSU football tight end Arik Gilbert?

The whole situation with Gilbert has been strange.

The Georgia native is the best tight end recruit of all time. And in eight games as a true freshman this past season, Gilbert proved that he was worthy of the hype that surrounded him as a recruit.

Gilbert caught 35 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns while playing with three different quarterbacks.

Those numbers aren’t gaudy, but they’re very impressive for a true freshman tight end in the SEC. And I think they show that Gilbert is the real deal — an instant mismatch on the field who has big-play ability and can dominate a game.

So what’s going on with him right now?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell. Most of what is out there about Gilbert is nothing more than rumor. But he’s obviously looking for a new home and he clearly doesn’t feel like Florida is the place he needs to be.

It could be possible that we see Gilbert take a year and play at the junior college level — especially if qualifying academically becomes an issue (LSU was unsure he’d qualify when he initially enrolled after signing).

(Note: It’s unclear if qualifying academically was the issue at Florida for Gilbert.)

Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron said in December that LSU would welcome Gilbert back in Baton Rouge if he decided to return.

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Is that still the case?

I don’t know for sure, but I think it would be awfully hard to turn away a player as talented as Gilbert.