With the 85-scholarship limit in college football, along with the limit on the number of players teams can take to away games, it leaves some difficult decisions for coaches in college football to decide who they want to take on the road with them.
Usually, it is players dealing with injuries and walk-ons who have not made the depth chart.
According to sources Friday evening, Georgia’s Arik Gilbert did not make the trip to Columbia, South Carolina, for Saturday’s game against South Carolina. The sophomore tight end, fresh off a year-long break from football, was available for each of the Bulldogs’ first two games this season.
Gilbert saw action against Oregon and Samford, mostly in mop-up duty as Georgia had built a big enough lead in both games, allowing for the second and third teamers to receive in-game reps.
The former five-star tight end out of Marietta, Ga., played his freshman season at LSU, racking up 368 yards and two touchdowns on 35 receptions. He would then enter the transfer portal after the 2020 season. Following a brief commitment to the University of Florida, he ultimately transferred back to his home state school of Georgia over the summer of 2021.
Weeks into fall camp, head coach Kirby Smart broke the news that Gilbert was away from the team as he dealt with personal issues, which saw him miss all of the 2021 season.
His return to the team in the winter sparked optimism for his return to the football field; after all, there is no doubting his talent. Gilbert shined on G-Day in the absence of Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington due to injuries. Even then, Smart made sure to pump the breaks on the expectations, noting that his young tight end still had work to do.
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Fast forwarding to this week, when asked about a lack of playing time for Gilbert, Smart made it known that the performance of Gilbert determines how much or how little he gets on the field.
“It’s really based on Arik’s performance, it’s not really based on those guys. We have really quality guys that align, and they all play and we play the guys that can play winning football and can communicate and execute. We like to have depth at those positions, but that’s all based on how he practices and how he carries over the game plan.”
– Kirby Smart on Arik Gilbert
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