- Highly regarded tight end Arik Gilbert announced he is transferring from LSU to Florida
- Gilbert played in nine games for LSU as a freshman in 2020 before leaving the program
- A look at how Florida’s national championship odds have been affected by the addition of Gilbert can be found below
Arik Gilbert has finally announced his transfer destination and the talented tight end is headed to Florida.
Gilbert was the highest-rated high school tight end ever by 247Sports and LSU won a big recruiting battle for him. However, Gilbert did not even play his full freshman season for the Tigers before opting out, then deciding to play somewhere else.
2022 CFP National Championship Odds
Odds taken Jan. 31 from FanDuel
Gilbert was the top player in a recruiting class LSU felt would help it continue to be competitive after suffering heavy losses from the 2019-20 team that won the national championship.
LSU commit Arik Gilbert is @247Sports’ highest-rated TE recruit ever.
Not hard to see why when he makes catches like this ? @arik_gilbert @LSUfootball
(via @MattDeBary) pic.twitter.com/KBXJSUQIwS
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) April 20, 2020
While Gilbert played well enough in eight games, fairly or not, he did not live to the great hype that surrounded his arrival in Baton Rouge.
The 6-foot-5, 246-pounder from Marietta, Ga., had 35 receptions for 368 yards and two touchdowns. He was fourth in receiving yards for LSU, which fell all the way to 5-5 after going 15-0 in 2019.
Gilbert’s best game of the pandemic-delayed season came Oct. 10 when he caught six passes for 97 yards and a touchdown in a 45-41 loss at Missouri.
On Dec. 9, with two games left in the regular season, Gilbert announced he was opting out for the rest of 2020. Coach Ed Orgeron said he expected Gilbert back for 2021. However, Gilbert eventually put his name in the transfer portal.
Headed to Gator Country
After deliberating for six weeks, Gilbert made his decision final Sunday.
After careful consideration I have decided to commit to the University of Florida. This is the best situation for me and I’m excited to join the family. ?
— AG2 (@arik_gilbert) January 31, 2021
Staying in the SEC and transferring to Florida certainly seems like the right fit for Gilbert.
Gators All-American tight end Kyle Pitts declared for the NFL Draft following a fantastic 2020 season. Despite being limited to eight games by injury, he had 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns.
#Patriots draft target: Florida TE Kyle Pitts. 6-6, 245-pound WR in a TE body. Vertical speed, nuanced releases, red zone threat, aligns in multiple spots.
Seam run. Sees the defender (#1) in his route path. Angles his stem to move the DB outside, then accelerates into the seam. pic.twitter.com/yuhAZQAcpr
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) January 27, 2021
Pitts finished 10th in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Rebuilding the Offense
Though Florida finished last season with a thud, losing its final three games and getting blown out 55-20 by Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, it had a prolific offense. The Gators were ninth in the nation in total yardage (509.8 a game) and 13th in scoring (39.8).
However, coach Dan Mullen and a coordinator to be determined have a rebuilding job to do on offense. Offensive coordinator Brian Johnson is leaving to become the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterbacks coach. Mullen and new QB coach Garrick McGee could wind up sharing play-calling duties.
Should Carson Wentz be worried about the #Eagles new hire?
New QB Coach Brian Johnson has ties with Jalen Hurts.
(via @SportsRadioWIP) pic.twitter.com/MfSwcGDwDq
— RADIO.COM Sports (@RDCSports) January 27, 2021
In addition to Pitts, Trask has moved on along with wide receivers Kadarius Toney and Kevon Grimes.
Sophomore Emory Jones will likely take over at quarterback for Trask, who was a Heisman Trophy finalist.
Jones saw limited action last season, primarily mopping up in blowout games, and completed 18-of-32 passes (56.3%) for 221 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
Emory Jones for six. Things are getting out of hand in Gainesville. @InsideTheGators pic.twitter.com/VQV1viBCF2
— Joseph Salvador (@JosephSalvador_) November 9, 2019
Judging by the way Florida used Pitts, it is easy to project Gilbert becoming Jones’ top target next season.
The running game should be bolstered by the arrival of running back Demarkus Bowman, a transfer from Clemson. Bowman was one of the top players in the country in the recruiting class of 2020.
Florida also has work to do on its defense, which gave up a whopping 144 points and more than 1,700 total yards during the last three games of 2020. The skid cost secondary coaches Ron English and Torrian Gray their jobs and has put defensive coordinator Todd Grantham on thin ice.
The only way Philly can make it up to us is by hiring Todd Grantham too
— Aus❌en (@austenburner) January 27, 2021
How Much Will Gilbert Help?
Adding Gilbert should only help Florida. Exactly how much remains to seen.
Gilbert did not make a major impact in his one season at LSU. He was also in similar situation with the Tigers with a team rebuilding around a new quarterback and a cast of other first-time starters.
There is no denying that Gilbert is a nice pickup for Florida. He is just not enough to vault the Gators, who have so many question marks, all the way to a national championship.