Pair of Georgia tight ends impress at G-Day
ATHENS, GA. — Georgia proved in its annual G-Day scrimmage why it has one of the most talented tight end units in the Southeastern Conference heading into the 2022 season.
Talented rising sophomore Brock Bowers impressed last season, although he didn’t participate Saturday following surgery from a lingering shoulder injury. So, the Bulldogs looked to newcomers Arik Gilbert and Oscar Delp to show out in the scrimmage.
Gilbert, a 6-foot-5 and 248-pound pass-catcher, hauled in three receptions for 49 yards with a pair of touchdowns.
His first score came on the opening drive of the game from quarterback Stetson Bennett in double coverage. Gilbert’s second receiving touchdown came in the fourth quarter on a play where he had to make a diving effort for the ball while being tightly defended.
“Arik is a beast,” Georgia safety Christopher Smith said. “He caught a touchdown on me and I wish I had that one back. He’s a great player and he’s going to continue to do great things.”
The former LSU tight end enrolled at UGA last summer but wasn’t with the Bulldogs in 2021 due to personal reasons.
However, Gilbert joined the program for offseason workouts in January, which transitioned into spring practice. That’s where he impressed his coaches and teammates.
“Arik is a really tough, physical player that’s done a good job,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “I’m more proud of the practices he had leading up to today. Today was a little bit of the icing on the cake. His conditioning level has got to continue to improve. He’s lost a lot of weight, but just what he’s been through and overcome is such a great story, but he’s not where he needs to be. He’ll be the first to tell you he’s got to continue to grow, to get in shape, to change his body, to get an opportunity to help us.”
Delp is an early enrollee and also stepped up big in the scrimmage. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end hauled in seven passes for 91 yards. Delp averaged 13 yards per grab, while his longest reception went for 20 yards. He also totaled 26 yards after the catch in his debut as a Bulldog.
"I thought he (Oscar Delp) had a decent scrimmage today," Smart said. "He caught the ball well. He ran after the catch well. We didn’t ask him to block much and do some things, and those are things that he’s going to have to continue to work on to play in the SEC."
Veteran tight end Brett Seither also hauled in two catches for 33 yards. So, he too provides depth as the Bulldogs were missing Bowers, Darnell Washington and Ryland Goede Saturday due to injury.
Combine all of last season’s production with Gilbert and Delp, and Georgia has talent stockpiled at the position. Now, it’s just a matter of getting every player healthy in time for summer workouts and fall camp. That will be goal No. 1 for the Bulldog tight ends, alongside getting better each day.
“That just shows how explosive we can be,” Georgia wideout Kearis Jackson said. “I mean, we've got explosive guys in the tight end room, receiver room and running back room. Man, we're loaded everywhere. We've just got to be able to continue to do it better than other teams do it.”