Marietta tight end Arik Gilbert received the Gatorade national player of the year award Tuesday at his school in a surprise ceremony. The presenter was Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

Gilbert — the first Georgia football player to win the national award first presented in 1986 — helped led Marietta to its first state title since 1967 on Saturday when the Blue Devils defeated Lowndes 17-9 at Georgia State Stadium.

Gilbert — a preseason AJC Super 11 selection — has 102 receptions for 1,735 yards and 14 touchdowns this season with a game to play. It was announced earlier this week that Marietta had been invited to the GEICO State Bowl Series in Las Vegas and will play Eastdside Catholic of Sammamish, Wash., on Friday.

Past winners of the Gatorade national player of the year include Emmitt Smith, Peyton Manning, Matt Barkley and Kyler Murray.

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