LSU Football: Arik Gilbert returning would make the Tigers a serious threat to win the SEC West

Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

LSU football isn’t currently considered a major threat to win the SEC West — not after the Tigers went 5-5 in 2020.

But if tight end Arik Gilbert decides to return to Baton Rouge, it might be time to consider LSU as a legitimate threat in the nation’s toughest conference.

Gilbert left the Tigers last season with two games remaining in the season. At the time, it was rumored that Gilbert was “homesick”.

Rivals recruiting analyst Mike Farrell, however, recently put an end to the idea that Gilbert left LSU because he was homesick.

“Let’s finally put to rest the notion that Gilbert left LSU because he was homesick,” wrote Farrell last week. “That’s not true. Gilbert never wanted to leave LSU but off-field issues forced him back home. LSU has always been where he wanted to be.”

Gilbert officially entered the transfer portal after the 2020 season. He then “committed” to Florida, but he reopened his transfer portal recruitment last month.

Arik Gilbert would turn LSU football into a legit contender

The Tigers are viewed by most folks as an eight or nine-win team in 2021, which I think is fair.

LSU should be much better in 2021, thanks to changes at both coordinator positions. Bo Pelini, who was a disaster as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator in 2020, was replaced with Daronte Jones.

Ed Orgeron also brought in Jake Peetz and DJ Mangas to run the offense. Peetz and Mangas, who both have a strong connection to former LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady, are expected to bring back the offense the Tigers ran during their historic championship run in 2019.

LSU has the talent to have an elite offense. The Tigers have a great quarterback room and quality talent at the wide receiver position.

Add Gilbert into the mix — a player who could be the most dangerous offensive weapon in the country — and LSU could have a juggernaut offense.

When Gilbert reaches his full potential, he’ll be unstoppable. Think Kyle Pitts at Florida but better.

So what are the chances that Gilbert returns to LSU?

Well, he met with Orgeron last week in Baton Rouge, but no decision has been made.

“We had a very good meeting,” said Orgeron this week (via Rivals). “No decision’s been made. Everybody was happy to see him. We checked with compliance to make sure everything we were doing was on the up and up… that he could come talk to us.”

“He left. He hadn’t made a decision yet. He hadn’t told us anything yet. I think it’s still up in the air, but it was a very positive day when he came.”

Next. Derek Stingley on offense in 2021?. dark

It certainly sounds like Gilbert wants to be at LSU. And it sounds like LSU would be open to a reunion. Hopefully, everyone finds a way to make this work. Gilbert is too good of a player to say goodbye to.