The saddest story in college football right now is of a promising player in Lincoln, Nebraska. University of Nebraska tight end Arik Gilbert was arrested and charged with burglary, which is a class 2A felony that carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison according to multiple reports. After a court appearance hours after his arrest, Gilbert was released on a $5,000 bond and is due back in court on Sept. 27.
Gilbert’s alleged break-in to Sj’s Liquor and Vape shop went viral as surveillance footage showed a man suspected to be him breaking into the store in the middle of the night.
Bruh Nebraska huskers tight end Arik Gilbert was arrested for breaking into a smoke shop & stealing vapes 🤦🏾♂️ pic.twitter.com/pzQdqGrHah
— Shannonnn sharpes Burner (PARODY Account) (@shannonsharpeee) August 30, 2023
“Obviously, really disappointed, really sad for him,” Nebraska football coach Matt Rhule said, according to 1011 Now. “When we took Arik, we knew we had a really good group of people who were going to help him through some of the issues he’s dealing with in his life.
“I’ve been really proud of the job he’s done this spring and summer. To be honest, during camp he’s had some struggles, he’s been working to overcome them. We have a great group of people here trying to help him and then, obviously, last night happens.”
While at Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia, Gilbert grew into a football phenom. Standing at 6-foot-6 and 249 pounds, he was still often the fastest player on the field and drew multiple comparisons to all-time great tight ends like Rob Gronkowski. He was a five-star prospect and the highest-ranked tight end ever.
Marietta's (GA) @arik_gilbert is the top rated athlete in the country for a reason.
Dude is a straight freak!
— Zack Poff (@Zack_Poff_MP) March 8, 2019
He ended his high school career as the Gatorade National Player of the Year. The award was presented to him by former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who told them he looked ready to play in the NFL already as he led Marietta to its first state football championship in 2019 since 1967. He also graced the cover of Sports Illustrated alongside Paige Bueckers, who is now a star guard on the UCONN women’s basketball team.
Here I was driving to the next city over to find more SI copies….and a box of 40 were already at the house!!! And THAT'S when it hit me, MY BABY @arik_gilbert IS ON THE COVER OF SPORT'S ILLUSTRATED! 😭…God. Is. Good. 😭 #humbled 🙏 Thank you @isqiisi and @Gatorade! pic.twitter.com/7otTO8LOwR
— Akiba Gilbert (@msgeesclass) August 28, 2020
It appeared as if Gilbert just needed to show up for three-to-four years in college to claim his guaranteed spot in the NFL, solidifying a more than substantial salary for him and his family.
Every since he arrived on campus however, mental health has been a primary concern in Gilbert’s collegiate career. He began at LSU before transferring to Florida for four weeks and then transferring to UGA only to end up at Nebraska. His emotional wellbeing was something Georgia football coach Kirby Smart has also previously alluded to.
“I’m always more concerned with Arik’s wellbeing, mentally, than I am his wellbeing on just knowing assignments and knowing what to do,” Smart said after a 2022 scrimmage, according to On3. “And that’s the most important thing, that he feels comfortable on our team and can help us.”