Arik Gilbert announced he will be transferring from the LSU football program.
The LSU Tigers will have to look for another five-star tight end at some point, as Arik Gilbert has entered the transfer portal after only one season down in Baton Rouge.
Gilbert was the No. 5 overall player in the 2020 recruiting class, according to the 247Sports Composite. The Marietta, Georgia native picked LSU over the likes of Alabama and Georgia during his high-profile recruiting process. However, he grew homesick in his lone year at LSU. Wherever he ends up, Gilbert will make any offense he joins for 2021 instantly better. Where could he go?
LSU star freshman tight end Arik Gilbert has announced that he's going to enter the transfer portal
— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) January 2, 2021
Arik Gilbert could transfer to one of these programs
The Miami Hurricanes are very much on the come-up under head coach Manny Diaz. Adding Rhett Lashlee as their offensive coordinator helped bring some serious bite to the ‘Canes offense. While Coral Gables is a good bit away from Marietta, they do play in the same Eastern Time Zone. He could go to Miami which has a great reputation for developing tight ends and where he took a pair of unofficial visits.
Distance is the biggest thing working against the Penn State Nittany Lions. However, head coach James Franklin has strong recruiting ties in the south from his days leading the Vanderbilt Commodores. Since his arrival in State College, Penn State has become a big of a pro football factory at the tight end position. This is an intriguing dark horse possibility but Gilbert did take an unofficial visit as a recruit.
Keep an eye on the Tennessee Volunteers being a fit for Gilbert. His high school quarterback Harrison Bailey is expected to be the Vols’ Week 1 starter in 2021 after taking the job away from super senior Jarrett Guarantano. However, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt is on the hot seat, and Gilbert may not want to go to a second college whose football program may be in a bit of flux. That said, Gilbert attended the Vols Junior Day and took another unofficial visit to Knoxville.
Again, the distance could be an issue for Gilbert to head to Norman, Oklahoma. But if he is not really that homesick, the Oklahoma Sooners could be a fantastic fit for him. OU will be among the favorites to win the national title next year. Think about him catches balls from Spencer Rattler in Lincoln Riley’s offense. If Mark Andrews can win the John Mackey, so can Gilbert at Oklahoma where he took an unofficial visit in April of 2019.
Staying in the SEC is definitely an option for Gilbert. Playing for a team like the Texas A&M Aggies could be more in line with what he was expecting when he committed to LSU. Jimbo Fisher has this program humming, and we know he will be used effectively in the Aggies offense. However, transferring within the division may not be the best thing from a karmic standpoint for him. But College Station was a place he visited as a recruit so there’s some level of interest there.
The other program in the SEC West where Gilbert could wind up is the Alabama Crimson Tide. Again, they were a finalist to land him during his recruitment before he committed to LSU. If Gilbert went to Alabama, he would surely play in the College Football Playoff at least a few times. As with Texas A&M, he will burn a lot of bridges transferring to one of LSU’s biggest division rivals. Gilbert attended Alabama’s Junior Day, took a few unofficial visits and used one of his official visits to see Tuscaloosa, this could be a new home and deliver a blow to rival LSU at the same time.
One team that would make a great deal of sense for him would have to be the Clemson Tigers. Though not in-state at Georgia, Clemson, South Carolina is right on the Georgia border, only an hour-and-change away from his native Marietta. As with Alabama, Gilbert would play in the College Football Playoff just about every year. This is a fantastic spot for him to possibly go to. In fact, Gilbert took seven unofficial visits to Clemson as a recruit.
The runaway favorite for Gilbert’s services is the Georgia Bulldogs. They were a finalist to land him during his recruitment. Marietta is an hour-and-a-half away from Athens, Georgia. Though the Dawgs already have a five-star tight end in the same recruiting cycle in Darnell Washington, head coach Kirby Smart has left the door open for Gilbert to play for his home state’s team. Georgia was the first school to offer him and was the last official visit before he committed to LSU.
There are other places he could end up, such as with the Florida Gators or the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. However, with Gilbert entering the transfer portal, it only reaffirms the likelihood he will end up at a place like Georgia. While Clemson and Alabama could be in the mix to land him as well, there are so many reasons the Dawgs are the runaway favorites to bring him home.