Arik Gilbert of Marietta (right) is a 5-star recruit for the Class of 2020.
Photo: Andrew Ivins/247Sports
Photo: Andrew Ivins/247Sports

Marietta recruit opens up about his plans, UGA interest

A 5-star recruit listed in the athlete category in the 247Sports Composite ratings, Gilbert has a history of being tight-lipped when it comes to his recruiting. 

This past week in Texas should be seen as a clear exception for the players from Marietta High School.  

Gilbert opened up this week at the Opening. The headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys somehow endowed him with the ability to speak freely about where he might wind up playing collegiately.  

Gilbert shared the following thoughts regarding his decision. 

*He’s looking at a September date as to when he might share his decision. That timeline will intersect with his All-American Bowl jersey presentation at Marietta High School His family has even said they are good with that timeline, too. It is basically all up to him.  

*He’s taking an unofficial visit to Clemson during the week the NCAA-mandated recruiting dead period lifts from July 25-July 31.  

*He doesn’t know of any other visits he plans to take before the start of his senior season. 

*He did say he’s been talking to fellow 5-star tight end Darnell Washington of late about the thought of playing together. If a lucky school is somehow able to sign both of those prospects, it would mean adding players who currently rank as the nation’s No. 11 and No. 12 overall prospects.  

He knows a couple of schools that will get an official visit. 

“Right now the only (ones) for sure (are) probably Georgia and Texas A&M,” he said. 

Gilbert has already taken an official visit to Alabama. He still feels that Georgia and Alabama are still recruiting him the hardest.

“They just hit me up everywhere like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat,” Gilbert said. “They’ve got some of the players talking to me. It is a lot of stuff.” 

Gilbert has been recruited by Georgia running backs coach Dell McGee for a long time. It goes back to the summer after his eighth-grade year. He feels that McGee is the recruiter who has done the best job of recruiting his family. Not just him. That matters to Gilbert.  

“I have been knowing him since the eighth grade,” Gilbert said with regard to McGee. “We’ve got a really strong relationship.” 

What Gilbert wants to see

There are several schools promising shiny new bells and whistles for their offenses. Especially in the way they utilize their tight ends. What does he need to see there? 

The first thing would be offenses spreading the ball out to their tight ends more.  

“It is going to be balls to the tight ends, but I am also looking at the routes they run,” Gilbert said. “If they run a bunch of stick routes and I mean I’m not really going to look at that. I’m looking for the corners [routes] and some good routes.” 

Tennessee’s pitch is enhanced by the thought that they will ask him to do less blocking than most tight ends. The Vols now talk to him more about using him as a pure receiver.  

That pitch has gotten some traction.  

“Other schools are basically saying the same thing,” he said. “They just want to move me around.” 

Does Georgia need to change its pitch to sign Gilbert?

“I mean with (tight-ends coach) Todd Hartley coming in, he’s had some good tight ends in the past,” Gilbert said. “So just seeing what they do this season will dictate that.”

Running back: UGA was second, but Miami is a lock

Don Chaney is a name that pops up often when it comes to the Georgia running-back board for 2020.

For the record, the 5-star running back stated at the Opening this week that Georgia finished up as his No. 2 school.

“If I wasn’t going to Miami, I was going to Georgia,” he said.

That would seem to indicate that his recruiting is over. Chaney, who rates as the nation’s No. 6 running back and the No. 29 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite ratings, sounds very committed to the Hurricanes.

The impressive 5-foot-11, 195-pound rising senior from Belen Jesuit Prep in Miami made it seem pretty clear that particular status is not wavering in his mind.

Is there a sliver of hope there for the Bulldogs? He does not expect to visit any more schools.

“Nah,” he said. “Shut down. Locked. With a hundred locks on there.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.