Marietta (Ga.) High School’s Arik Gilbert is one of the top sophomore athletes in the country. The versatile 6-foot-5, 248-pound prospect is being recruited by various programs as a tight end, defensive end and athlete. He holds close to 30 scholarship offers, including ones from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Tennessee.
Despite his long list of high-profile offers, Gilbert was a bit caught off guard when Clemson extended his latest offer on Friday.
“It felt really good,” Gilbert said of the Clemson offer. “I wasn’t really expecting it until maybe junior year, so it was a really good surprise.”
Gilbert, who is on the back-end of his sophomore year, had been in contact with Clemson prior to the offer and felt the Tigers would pull the trigger on an offer eventually. He just didn’t think it would happen this early.
“Just that they like me and I’d probably be one of the guys they offered,” Gilbert said of what he’s heard from Clemson, “and that the reason they wait so late is because they take their time to give them out, and they told me that they would probably offer me junior year.”
According to Gilbert, Clemson is recruiting him as an offensive player.
“Tight end,” he said. “And (Clemson said) that they can split me out to receiver if they need me to.”
Gilbert has competed at the Dabo Swinney Camp and visited Clemson for a few games in the past.
He doesn’t have any visits planned right now but hopes to return to Clemson this spring or summer.
“From what I can tell the campus is really nice and from what I’ve heard it’s a great school,” Gilbert said, “and I’m going to get to know the coaches a little bit better when I go down there as well.”
With an abundance of big-time college opportunities and two years of high school still ahead of him, Gilbert is in no hurry to make a decision and isn’t naming any favorites right now.
After throwing its hat in the ring, Clemson figures to be a contender for Gilbert moving forward.
“They’re definitely up there in the schools that I’m considering,” he said.
Gilbert is rated by Rivals as a five-star prospect. He is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 2 prospect in Georgia, No. 1 athlete and No. 11 overall prospect for the 2020 class.
Last season, Gilbert tallied 54 receptions for 570 yards and seven touchdowns as a tight end. He also recorded 62 tackles, including nine for loss and six sacks, as a defensive end.