In a surprising college football recruiting twist Wednesday evening, Class of 2020 five-star tight end Arik Gilbert announced his college commitment to LSU, pledging his allegiance to the Tigers over fellow SEC powerhouse programs Georgia and Alabama. Gilbert’s crystal ball on 247Sports had read 88 percent in favor of Alabama and 12 percent Georgia leading up to his decision on Wednesday night, with LSU actually considered the darkhorse. The stunning decision gives the Tigers a commitment from the No. 1 tight end in the country as well as their highest-rated commitment to date in the 2020 recruiting cycle.
Gilbert, the highest-rated tight end recruit in the history of the 247Sports Composite index, made his official visits to Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Texas A&M over the last few months. After making the trip to visit Baton Rouge two weeks ago, he visited Georgia this past weekend. But it’s that trip to Death Valley that stuck with him most.
“Honestly, it’s always been one of my top choices with Coach O there and the program he runs,” Gilbert told 247Sports. “It just, it seems like it really fits me. ‘One Team, One Heartbeat’, and I’m the same way. It’s all about team and values. Also, with the new offense they are running with (Joe Brady) down there, that really interested me a lot. They were already one of my top teams, but that put them over the top.”
LSU’s offense transforming into one of the very best in college football certainly helps. The Tigers this season rank third nationally in total offense, second nationally in scoring offense and, perhaps most notably, are one of only nine teams in college football to enter Week 9 of the season without a loss thanks to the new-look offense in Baton Rouge.
The pledge from Gilbert bumps LSU up to No. 3 in the recruiting class rankings for the 2020 cycle and No. 2 in the SEC behind only SEC West rival Alabama. Gilbert is now the third five-star recruit to commit to LSU in the current cycle, joining cornerback Elias Ricks and wide receiver Rakim Jarrett.