Arik Gilbert, the nation’s top-ranked athlete, is a two-way star on the gridiron. The five-star prospect from Marietta (Ga.) High School has over two dozen college offers and possesses the versatility to play on both sides of the ball. He could line up at tight end or defensive end at the next level and be a highly productive player at either position.
Gilbert (6-5, 250) had a chance to showcase his talent on Sunday when he competed at The Opening Atlanta Regional at Stockbridge (Ga.) High School.
The Clemson Insider was on hand for the regional and spoke with Gilbert afterward.
“I think I’m more than just a traditional tight end,” he said, describing himself as a player. “I’m more of an athlete, and you can put me anywhere on the field because I can do pretty much everything.”
Gilbert is being recruited by the Tigers as a tight end and is one of their priority targets in the 2020 recruiting cycle. He most recently visited Clemson for the program’s elite junior day in late January and felt right at home thanks to head coach Dabo Swinney.
“Clemson was a really nice visit,” Gilbert said. “Talking to coach Dabo, he’s a really down-to-earth guy. So, it was really nice.”
Gilbert said he communicates often with the Clemson coaches. He also keeps in contact with members of Clemson’s 2020 recruiting class, as well as five-star Clemson quarterback target D.J. Uiagalelei.
“Me and D.J. talk a lot,” Gilbert said. “I know (Clemson commit) Kevin Swint. I keep in touch with a lot of the guys.”
What is the pitch from Clemson’s commits as for why he should jump on board with the Tigers?
“Just that Clemson is a great place to be,” Gilbert said. “Join the family, basically.”
As he continues to do his due diligence with the recruiting process and check out different schools, Gilbert plans to make a few visits during his spring break.
“I’m going to Oklahoma, Texas A&M and LSU,” he said.
According to Gilbert, there is a chance he could make it back to Clemson for the spring game on April 6.
“I don’t have anything set yet, but I’ll try to get down there if I can,” he said.
Gilbert, who claims no favorites right now, said he will probably commit “sometime at the beginning of next season.”
What will be the biggest factors he looks at when making his decision?
“Definitely (looking for) somewhere that I know I feel comfortable at school wise and football wise, with the players and just the overall feel of the school,” he said.
Gilbert is ranked by all the major recruiting services as the No. 1 athlete and a top-15 overall prospect nationally in the 2020 class.
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