ARIK "OPTIMUS" GILBERT: 2020 PLAYER PROFILE

RELENTLESSLY BY

LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips


#2

ARIK GILBERT (Freshman)


6'6

245

MARRIETTA STATS:

3,640 RECEIVING YARDS (14.7 Per catch)

247 CATCHES

36 TDs

AVG. 91 YARDS PER GAME

1 RUSHING TD

History-in-the-making / history-for-the-taking, once in a lifetime freshman phantom...we present to you:

5 Star freak Arik Gilbert.

Straight outta Marrietta Georgia, Gilbert is a tight end / receiver combo who's tape shows a man consumed with hellbent for leather rage, power, unbridled Eric Dickerson-esque finesse and disorienting speed behind the line of scrimmage, catching screens and juking, jiving, smashing through or climbing over defenders in his way, showing a supernatural gift for yards after catch and a biblical will to survive after contact...oh and by the way, he's 6'5 and weighs 253 pounds.

How could he be possible?

              How can anyone look at the threat of Gilbert's mere presence, see the two proven talisman receivers we have out wide (Chase and Marshall), the plethora of additional options in supply at WR (Palmer, Boutte, McMath), the trio of high octane RBs (who scored 10 combined TDs as freshmen) and still feel LSU's offense will struggle this season...HOW?? Here we have a once in a generation talent, ready to start and dominate immediately, and it looks like the John Mackey Award committee feels the same way, placing Gilbert on the Mackey watch-list before the juggernaut has even played a down. Forget the shoulder surgery, he's close to 100% right now. Whether Jamal Pettigrew is allowed first team reps above Arik at first is debatable, however when we fix our chops upon Texas at Death Valley on Week 2, Gilbert must start. He's too unstoppable, defenders have no idea what they're getting themselves into and his pure agile strength will bruise and abuse every defense we face.... we have to see what the young man can do out there.

With 5 of our first 6 games against average quality opponents (only Texas stands a chance of beating LSU during the first half of the schedule), there's plenty of room for Gilbert to gain confidence as an extra receiver and burly tight end threat for Quarterback Myles Brennan...vs Rice, vs UTSA, Nicholls State, Ole Miss...even Texas's horrendous Big 12 secondary: I will make a prediction that Gilbert will have 4 or more touchdown catches by the time we play Florida in early October. Could he really be that good?


Yes....he can and he will be... Watch out for #2 becoming an absolute Red Zone Wrecking Ball, scoring TDs by or near the goal line, including occasional usage at tail back.

Thanks to his legitimate speed and hulking size, any player able to tackle Gilbert by themselves will be awarded an Oscar, Tony Danza's haircut & a gold jacket.

I don't know if the college football world is stuck in 1998 or something, but when you tell the average fan that a "tight end like Gilbert won't be used as a normal tight end" they begin to fidget, freak out and grow agitated.

"That makes no sense!" I was blasted by comments, "a tight end in the slot? Who is this idiot?!" Someone commented after my appearance on Mark Rogers' YouTube show.

Many seem incapable of grasping the fact that LSU's offense may be close to as explosive as 2019's systematic cancellation of competition...and with Arik Gilbert, LSU has a big time chance for offensive nirvana.

Gilbert supplies a match-up hell for any coordinator to figure out: consequently, wherever we place him, his danger becomes magnified thanks to the brilliance of his new teammates.

With Chase and Marshall on either flank, Gilbert in the slot, Boutte on Marshall's side, defenses have no option but to hold their nose and prepare to fill their pants...if you put Gilbert out wide, Palmer in the slot, Boutte and Marshall out wide, now you have to send your best cover guys to clamp down on Chase on one side, use a speedy guy to cover Palmer in the slot and then you still have to worry about a 5-star freshman who's pace is unstoppable (Boutte) and a red-shirt sophomore who grabbed 13 touchdowns from 46 catches last year (Marshall producing a touchdown every 3 1/2 catches)....

Maybe we're just biased, but if you don't believe Gilbert will shatter freshman records, as well as potentially take the Mackey Award for his debut season, then we want a list of names:

Tell me the guys who can stop this man in the open field, in an enclosed space, when the ball hangs up above or anywhere else for that matter...

Can Alabama's Dylan Moses stop him in coverage? Would Saban's McMillon still have the burst to jam 6'5 253 pounds of molten steel off the line and disrupt those routes?

Isaiah Simmons is in the NFL...Jacoby Stevens and Derek Stingley are Arik's teammates....so.....tell me who's gonna stop him?


PROJECTIONS: 49 Receptions, 715 yards, 3 rushes 28 yards, 7+ Receiving TDs,

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