Five-star transfer Arik Gilbert decommits from Gators

The former LSU signee is the top tight end talent of the modern recruiting era.
Former LSU tight end Arik Gilbert is looking for a new home, again.
Former LSU tight end Arik Gilbert is looking for a new home, again. [ L.G. PATTERSON | AP ]
Published Feb. 28, 2021|Updated Feb. 28, 2021

The Florida Gators’ control of the transfer portal looks a little shakier Sunday after five-star tight end Arik Gilbert decommitted from UF.

Gilbert is one of the top tight ends of the modern recruiting era. The 6-foot-5, 253-pound Georgia native was the nation’s No. 5 recruit in the 2020 recruiting class and the first tight end ever to be named Gatorade’s National Player of the Year.

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He signed with LSU, where he caught 35 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman before entering the transfer portal. A month ago, he announced his intention to transfer to UF. On Sunday, he decommitted.

Gilbert would have been the type of star recruit who could help the Gators replace Kyle Pitts, a potential top-10 pick in this spring’s NFL draft.

Even without Gilbert, UF has been excited about the future of the position thanks to younger players like Kemore Gamble and Jonathan Odom, a product of Tampa’s Jesuit High.

“We’ve got, I think, a really talented room,” tight ends coach Tim Brewster said Wednesday. “Everybody’s worried about us losing Kyle Pitts, and we’re certainly going to miss Kyle and everything he brought to it. But I think these other guys are really going to do some great things next season.”