Great news from the birthplace of Chick-fil-A!
Nebraska landed the commitment of transfer portal tight end Arik Gilbert Thursday evening. The 6'5 250 lb. Gilbert hails from Marietta, Georgia, a northwest suburb of Atlanta. He was the number one tight end in the 2020 class and originally signed with LSU.
Boy, things immediately took off from there. Arik had a banner freshman campaign with the Tigers and was immediately projected as a future top 10 draft pick and perennial Pro Bowler.
After his first season he transferred, originally to the Florida Gators, but things fell through & I'm uncertain if he ever actually enrolled there. He then decided on the home state Georgia Bulldogs. While he won two rings in Athens, his playing time took a sharp decrescendo, partially due to off-the-field struggles & partially due to being behind two of the country's best tight ends in Brock Bowers & Darnell Washington. Arik arrives in Lincoln as a once highly-regarded player at the crossroads of his career.
This is the current status of Nebraska's scholarship tight ends, from oldest to youngest:
- Chris Hickman: Class of 2019. Career totals: 5 catches, 90 yards. He signed 4 years ago & is still built like a high school senior.
- Thomas Fidone: #1 TE in the country for the class of 2021. Has had back to back season ending injuries since he got here. 2023 is a pivotal year for him.
- James Carnie: Class of 2021. 0 career stats. Has appeared in 2 games in his career. Had athletic potential as a recruit but has yet to make a move. 2023 is pivotal.
- AJ Rollins: Class of 2021 (why did we take 3 tight ends??) 0 career stats. Played in 2 games as a true freshman & 5 games in 2022, primarily as a blocking tight end. Will he get more playing time & see more targets in 2023?
- Chase Androff: '22 signee. Did not play last season. Recruited primarily for his inline blocking prowess, his actual film as a pass catcher was pedestrian. I'm unsure if he'll ever play here.
- Brodie Tagaloa: Originally signed as a defensive lineman, then Tony Tuioti bounced for greener pastures in Oregon. I immediately wrote him off as ever playing for us & expected him to hastily retreat for the transfer portal. The fact that he is still here a year later shows that, maybe, he actually wanted to be a Husker & is dedicated to giving it his all. This year is important.
I outlined those guys to prove that, if Arik is focused on football/academics & worth anything, he should easily ascend into a starting tight end. He doesn't exactly have a murderer's row of competition.
I'm not sure what Nebraska's previous rank in the On3 transfer portal rankings were, but we are currently ranked 33rd in the country. Not bad at all, it's always about fit more than stars & I am pleased with every single transfer we have brought in so far.
Welcome to Nebraska, Arik! GBR!