Arik Gilbert finally has a home. The highly-regarded ex-LSU tight end told 247Sports’ Rusty Mansell on Tuesday that he will head to SEC East power Georgia. It shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Gilbert, a rising true sophomore, was a five-star prospect and No. 5 overall player out of Marietta (Georgia) High School in 2020.
“Coming home, I believe it was a smart decision to come home. I wanted to be with and near my family,” Gilbert said. “I have been missing all of family and now both of my grandmothers will be able see me play in person, too.”
Gilbert had 35 catches for 368 yards and two touchdowns in eight games for the Tigers last season before opting out of the final two games. His best game came in Week 3 vs. Missouri when he had six catches for 87 yards and a touchdown in the 45-41 loss. His stellar season earned him first-team freshman All-SEC honors following the season.
He announced his intent to transfer to Florida following the season, but chose to decommit from the Gators before ending up with the Bulldogs. Gilbert was pegged as a potential first-round pick by 247Sports coming out of high school.
“We are about to have weapons all over the field,” Gilbert told Mansell. “That is going to be crazy with me and Darnell [Washington] on the field at the same time, think we came out of high school as the top two guys at our position, it is going to be exciting for our fans to watch.”
The NCAA has approved undergraduates to transfer one time without being forced to sit out a season. However the SEC, unlike several other Power Five conferences, has not voted on lifting its intra-conference ban that would force undergraduates to sit a season. That vote is expected to take place this week, and is expected to pass.
Gilbert’s commitment wasn’t the only big news for Georgia on the transfer front on Tuesday.
Ex-Clemson cornerback Derion Kendrick, a five-star prospect in the Class of 2018 who was the No. 26 overall player in the nation coming out of high school that year, also announced his decision to transfer to Georgia. He’s made 23 starts over the past three seasons for the Tigers and was a All-ACC first team selection in 2020.
Kendrick, a rising senior, was dismissed by Clemson following the season for undisclosed reasons. He will join a Georgia defensive backfield that is loaded with talent.