LSU landed a commitment from five-star tight end Arik Gilbert on Wednesday.
"Just the atmosphere, the school, the family environment, talking to Coach [Ed Orgeron], they just got Coach [Joe] Brady," Gilbert said. "I think it's the right fit for me, to be honest."
Gilbert is a 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end out of Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia, and the commitment is significant for LSU not just because Gilbert is one of the highest-ranked recruits in the country but also because he is the No. 2-ranked recruit in the state of Georgia. His hometown of Marietta is a little more than an hour's drive from the University of Georgia, and the coaching staff was able to fend off Alabama, Clemson and Georgia for his commitment.
The commitment means Georgia has the No. 2- and 3-ranked recruits in the state committed, with Gilbert at No. 2 and offensive tackle Broderick Jones at 3. Clemson has the top-ranked recruit in the state committed in defensive end Myles Murphy.
As highly ranked as he is, Gilbert is the second-ranked tight end in the class behind Darnell Washington, who is No. 6 overall. Gilbert and Washington join Isaac Nauta, who is also from the state of Georgia and signed with Georgia in 2016, as the only five-star tight ends since ESPN started its star rankings in 2009.
His recruitment has gone back-and-forth, with his leader seemingly changing from Georgia to Alabama and back to Georgia, with Tennessee and Clemson trying to get in the mix as well. Gilbert took visits to Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M and most recently Georgia, and it was somewhat of a surprising pick that he ended up choosing LSU -- so surprising, in fact, that Gilbert didn't tell his parents where he was headed and let the speculation grow throughout his recruitment, despite knowing where he was headed for nearly a month.
"Everybody thought I was going to Georgia, Alabama, and I didn't even really stray from that. I just let them stay the course." Gilbert said. "Meanwhile behind the doors, I'm thinking in my head where I want to go, talking to Coach Brady, Coach O. I really made my decision like a month ago, something like that, but I just kept it on the low."
LSU now has 15 ESPN 300 commitments, four of whom are ranked in the top 50 of the rankings. Those 15 commitments are tied with that of Clemson, one fewer than that of Ohio State and four fewer than that of Alabama, which has the most ESPN 300 commitments with 19.