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Georgia Football

Kirby Smart Gives Update on Georgia Bulldogs WR Arik Gilbert

August 30, 2021
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ATHENS - Georgia Bulldogs WR Arik Gilbert‍ is still not with Kirby Smart’s program. 

The head coach said so during a regularly-held press conference on Monday. 

“No update on Arik Gilbert. He's not with us right now,” Kirby said. 

The update comes a few weeks after Gilbert left the program in early August. No. 5 Georgia opens the season in Charlotte against No. 3 Clemson on Saturday night. The Bulldogs are listed as 3-point underdogs for the game by FanDuel.

“Arik Gilbert is dealing with some personal issues. We love him, and we are trying to help him. Our thoughts and prayers are with him right now,” Smart said on August 14. “We love Arik, his family. This team is very open. That is something we have talked about across the board.”

Smart didn’t say when he expects Gilbert to return to the program. 

The transfer to UGA as well as the change of positions provides a challange for Gilbert heading into the 2021 season. At the start of camp, Kirby Smart said Gilbert would need to learn Monken’s offensive system. 

"I think learning is the key,” Smart said regarding Gilbert a week ago. “He's got to learn the system - words really. We don't have a lot of different plays than the other places he's learned from, but we call it different. I would almost say vocabulary, learning how we practice, how to learn our stuff at a fast rate. That's the key for him.”

Gilbert appeared in some of UGA’s offical social media posts from earlier in camp. It is not clear how much time he has missed, or when he is expected to return.

Gilbert ended his LSU career with 35 receptions for 368 yards with two touchdowns. His best game came against Missouri - a six-catch, 97-yard performance that included a score. Earlier this year Gilbert committed to Florida before backing away from that commitment in February. On the day of that announcement, Gilbert said on social media: “I will not be announcing my final decision until i am enrolled into school and on campus.”

That happened in June. Multiple social media posts from UGA’s official account show Gilbert competing during some practices in Athens this fall. 

Sources told Dawg Post earlier this summer that multiple factors led to Gilbert picking Georgia, including his family’s long-time relationship with the staff, the ability to play close to home and the ability to play wide receiver. Insiders say Kirby Smart sold Gilbert on the idea of playing receiver instead of tight end where he was recruited to play out of Marietta.

Insiders added that Gilbert lost trust in LSU as the season progressed in 2020, and that his family and camp were not comfortable with the way LSU dealt with off-the-field matters. It remains to be seen the specific reason why Gilbert has missed practice time in Athens, or when he is set to return. 

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