Clemson top option for nation’s No. 1 ATH after visit

Clemson top option for nation’s No. 1 ATH after visit


Clemson top option for nation’s No. 1 ATH after visit


Clemson welcomed a big group of highly touted recruits to campus last Saturday for the program’s elite junior day event.

Among the preeminent prospects in attendance was Marietta (Ga.) five-star Arik Gilbert, the No. 1 athlete in the country according to all the major recruiting services.

“I had a lot of fun,” Gilbert told The Clemson Insider, “and it was great getting to know the coaches a little more.”

Gilbert, a consensus top-15 overall prospect in the 2020 class, was accompanied to the junior day by his mother and sister.

“I think she liked Coach Swinney a lot,” he said of his mom. “She had a good time on the visit as well.”

What was the highlight of the visit for Gilbert personally?

“The training room was probably the highlight,” he said. “Their equipment is awesome.”

Gilbert (6-5, 250) had previously visited Clemson for the South Carolina game in November after receiving an offer from the Tigers in the spring. He holds more than two dozen offers in total, with some schools recruiting him as a tight end and others as a defensive end.

Clemson is pursuing him as a tight end, and he admitted that the chance to catch passes from Trevor Lawrence two years from now is an appealing thought.

“I think Trevor is a great quarterback and we could do some damage together if I got I with him for that year,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert’s offer list also includes the likes of Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Penn State. He told TCI that he feels the Bulldogs and Volunteers are recruiting him the hardest right now along with the Tigers.

Where does Clemson stand among his college choices following Saturday’s visit?

“It is still one of my top options,” he said.

Gilbert, who is planning to be an early enrollee, said he hopes to wrap up the recruiting process and commit right before his senior season starts in the fall. A couple of factors will figure heavily into his decision.

“Environment of the school and the overall program that the coach runs,” he said.

Gilbert is ranked as high as the nation’s No. 6 prospect for 2020 regardless of position (ESPN). He is committed to play in the 2020 All-American Bowl.

As a junior in 2018, Gilbert recorded 88 receptions for 1,210 yards and 14 touchdowns. Defensively, he tallied 64 total tackles, including six for loss and six sacks. He was also credited with a pair of pass deflections and two fumble recoveries.

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