WELCOME NEW SUBSCRIBERS DWAYNE THOMASSEE, RJLLSU, RONALD K GIBSON, DON "FELLOW UTAH BADASS" CANNON & MARYROSE WELCH!
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Wait....Arik Gilbert transferred today?
I thought he already transferred?
After a month and a half where the negative, toxic reactions online and the news trajectory were so ahead of themselves you would've thought he'd quit in the middle of a title game vs Bama to play for the Tide themselves, Arik now made the decision to enter the transfer portal...and he will be a highly coveted target.
The #1 TE in the country (and one of the best overall pass catchers) has left the Tigers only 12 months after his impossible capture during the 2020 signing class. His recruitment and signing was a monumental win for the program, so big Orgeron stopped a 2019 Tigers' practice just to let the boys know.
Yet 2020 has been anything but ideal for Gilbert...a torn shoulder leading to surgery straight out of the gates, a frustrating recovery period after only 3 curtailed spring practices and a long pandemic layoff....and here's where the problems began...
When he threatened a transfer after the Alabama game, tons of rumors (some of them lies, some of them true) began to fly around about Arik's character, his work ethic, and striking speculation about hard partying...but nothing outweighs the fact that this incredible talent was actually on the cusp of an LSU suspension for conduct we will not report here at this time.
Coach O didn't do the best job covering it up with the "homesick" line, although the truth is Arik was actually protected by Coach Orgeron and his staff...
So....after a month where LSU fans publicly speculated on his mindset, commitment, his character and recreational activities, Gilbert chose the least shocking response possible.....transferring out of Baton Rouge on a day where 9 of the country's top 2021 athletes were announcing.
It's a shame to see such an impeccable, all-world young man depart the program in such a way, but it's almost become part of the Tigers' identity that I know all too well and accept as part of the wild package of being an LSU Tiger...
...sometimes greatness can be volatile...for one example, Tyrann Mathieu and JaMarcus Russell both left the program a year earlier than they should have for different reasons and with complete opposing outcomes...there's a long list of many former Tigers on the "wow, what could've been and what was amazing too" column...and perhaps, with only 2 touchdown catches to his name this campaign, Gilbert's LSU fate is destined for that "what could've been if Burrow, Ensminger & Brady were getting him the ball a year earlier?" type of fantasy land... especially with so much left undone, however from our boots on the ground in the program we're hearing it's for the best, both player and team.
The 2020 isolation away from home was harmful to the tight end, while his desire has waned on the field over the course of the campaign. I went back and studied every snap for Arik Gilbert and what I saw was bizarre....
Many times we witnessed Gilbert fade and duck away from responsibility or the task of making a big time play or block...and this is coming from a guy who used to play defensive end and was a willing, brutal hitter...why shy away now? It was puzzling...sure, there were times we all remember where Myles, T.J or Max missed Arik with easy throws, leaving big time plays on the field...yet more details emerged through repeated viewing.
Gilbert was a freshman hung out to dry by Scott Linehan in many ways...enshrined as the Adonis of LSU here to claim "Megatron" aka Calvin Johnson's throne....
He started hot then fizzled and faded miserably, left to the nether regions of the playcalling sheet....after Terrace Marshall went off for 10 TDs before then opting out, now Gilbert was once again tasked with being the #1 or #2 guy alongside Kayshon Boutte... still, his opportunities only came so often, and only on hit or miss plays...
The responsibility may have been far too much too soon from this coaching staff, yet they believed in Arik's abilities so inherently, they knew he was up for the challenge and could usurp anyone in coverage.
Still, Coach Orgeron didn't recognize the facts: while Arik's body may have been healthy enough to become the #1 or #2 guy at LSU, his mind wasn't ready...this young man is after all still a teenager...we cannot judge these kids so harshly and throw them away for the same mistakes we made...
I believe there may be every opportunity for LSU to win Gilbert's signature again, although nasty comments of "Tiger Treason" etc on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram aren't helping LSU in that department....but neither is LSU's in-flux offensive leadership roles, off field scandal or Arik's sensitivities combined in a hot and righteous gumbo which may have been too hot to handle.
But this is what I suggest....to secure the return of Arik Gilbert (and... just anyway) we need to re-hire Jon DeCoster back on Coach O's staff.
DeCoster, now TEs Coach at Old Dominion, is not only a great coach, he's a smooth operator who created the Gilbert steal last year...
Without DeCoster at LSU as a freshman, Gilbert was unintentionally left rudderless by any position coach outside of Mickey Joseph and Mickey understandably had his hands full with an ever-evolving, slowly depleting wide outs unit.
Could Gilbert come back to LSU???
Ask yourself this question...
If YOU were Arik Gilbert...would YOU come back to LSU for 2021?
BLACK LIVES MATTER
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
SHOUTOUTS: Arik Gilbert, let the young man figure it out. That's what life is about.