Arik Gilbert (6-5, 232, Marietta, Ga., Marietta) is a name people will want to know in the coming years. The 2020 athlete is a physical specimen only entering his sophomore year of high school.
Marietta showed off its talents with several top performers at Florida’s Sensational Sophomore Night last Thursday. Gilbert, along with his teammate, 2020 quarterback Harrison Bailey, turned the most heads of the bunch.
With his size, Gilbert projects to either play tight end or defensive end. He has not decided which side of the ball he wants to play on yet. His ability to go up and get anything thrown his way is attractive for tight ends coach Greg Nord, but defensive line coach Chris Rumph wouldn’t mind having his power coming off the edge either.
Nord won the battle on Thursday as he got to work with Gilbert at tight end throughout camp.
“I like him,” Gilbert said of Nord. “I learned a lot. They always get me in my mind to make sure I’m running my routes to perfection.”
Gilbert was impressed by the campus and the atmosphere at Florida.
“It was nice,” he said of his visit. “I like the weather and the area around it. Walking in, I saw the stadium. So far I really like it.”
It was his first visit to Gainesville after receiving an offer from the Gators in February.
“I’ve never been down here,” said Gilbert. “And I got an offer way back … Ever since then I’ve been excited to come down here and I finally got a chance.”
Gilbert admitted to being a bit surprised when the Florida offer rolled in several months back, even though he already held offers from four other SEC schools at the time.
“I was just very surprised,” Gilbert said. “It just came so fast. I was in ninth grade, so I wasn’t really expecting it.”
Florida is currently playing catch up behind Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, who all offered within days of each other last July. Gilbert said those are still the schools recruiting him the hardest, all being close to home.
As of now, there is still plenty of time for Florida after a great visit for Gilbert, who still wants to take his time.
“Probably somewhere like 11th grade summer,” he said on when he plans to make a decision. “Or if I feel like I know where I want to go, then next year in the summer.”