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Take Two: Does Alabama lead for five-star Arik Gilbert?

Arik Gilbert
Arik Gilbert (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell and an expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites or a regional analyst.

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CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

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THE STORYLINE

Only a few months ago, it felt like Georgia was the team to beat for five-star tight end Arik Gilbert and it only made sense.

The No. 11 player nationally is from Marietta, Ga., he has developed a strong bond with the coaching staff after being on campus numerous times and it looked like this was a “when” not “if” scenario. It was almost a sure thing that Gilbert would be another five-star in this Georgia recruiting class.

However, over the last few months, Alabama has really stepped up its efforts with Gilbert and the Crimson Tide have made the tight end position a priority for years in Tuscaloosa. That could be a huge selling point for Gilbert, who is also serious about Clemson, Tennessee and possibly others.

Clemson is an interesting one since the Tigers were slow to recruit the five-star tight end but have really gone into maximum overdrive the last few months and the national champs are definitely a huge contender now.

Marietta teammate and four-star quarterback Harrison Bailey is already committed to the Vols and that could be a compelling factor in Gilbert’s recruitment as well.

Has Alabama taken a clear lead for Gilbert or do Clemson, Georgia, Tennessee and others still have a legitimate shot at landing him?

FIRST TAKE: ANDREW BONE, BAMAINSIDER.COM

“Ever since his visit to Alabama in late July, things started turning in favor of Alabama. He ended up going to the Alabama-Duke game in Atlanta and the way maybe some of the other teams like Tennessee have performed this season really helped Alabama’s chances with Gilbert.

“With Georgia, still an in-state school that’s pursuing him, and they have a few other tight end targets they’re going after. Alabama has a plan in mind of how they want to use Gilbert and it’s similar to how they used Irv Smith, that’s something that stands out to him and something he likes. As of right now, Alabama is likely in the driver’s seat. I think Clemson is right there in the mix as well and he had a great visit there recently. I think it’s more of an Alabama-Clemson battle.”

SECOND TAKE: MIKE FARRELL, RIVALS.COM

“I still think Georgia cannot be counted out. Alabama has had the momentum for some time now and I can certainly see why people feel he’s going to end up at Alabama.

“Clemson came in late and they weren’t recruiting him as hard as anybody else and Tennessee has fallen off because they’re not playing well. It comes down to Alabama, Clemson and Georgia but the more I hear, the more he doesn’t want to play at Georgia and will go to Alabama."

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