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NoleGameday

UF’s recruiting on nosedive following flurry of failures

Well, it definitely isn’t great to be a Florida Gator, especially right at this moment. In recent weeks, the program over in Gainesville has essentially lost all of the momentum it built after winning 10 games for the first time since 2015 under first-year head coach Dan Mullen.

Really, the tailspin all started less than two weeks ago when true freshman early enrollee quarterback Jalon Jones entered the Transfer Portal on April 30. Days after that, it was reported that the former four-star prospect had been accused of sexual battery by two students, who chose not to pursue charges, at the university before he made his transfer request, prompting many to wonder whether it was the player or coaching staff that made the decision.

The incident reportedly occurred on April 6 but Jones still saw action in the Gators spring game just a week later, finishing with 63 rushing yards and a touchdown, which is a little strange if the program had already been alerted to these allegations. Two other true freshmen early enrollees, cornerbacks Chris Steele and Jaydon Hill were also mentioned in the report, which we’ll get to in a minute.

Following that shocking news,  junior cornerback Brian Edwards was charged by the Gainesville police for simple battery/date violence after a fight with his girlfriend on May 7. Edwards reportedly tried to stop his girlfriend from leaving the apartment where the argument took place by grabbing her by the neck. Police noted that the woman had marks on her neck and scratch on her shoulder.

But it doesn’t stop there. Steele, the crown jewel of Florida’s 2019 recruiting class, was very uncomfortable with the fact he was mentioned in the police report regarding Jones’ situation. Gatorsports.com reported that the one-time five-star recruit had told the coaching staff that he wanted to switch dorms because he didn’t want to room with Jones, now we might know why. Mullen wanted Steele to wait until at least the summer which irked the defensive back and his parents. That culminated with his decision to enter the Transfer Portal on May 9. He still has the option to return to Gainsville though this may be a relationship too damaged to save.

In the middle of all the madness, recruits began to back out of their commitments to the Gators. Four 2021 verbal commitments have rescinded their pledges since April 27, three days before the Jones news dropped. Four-star athlete Kamar Wilcoxson backed away from his commitment shortly before the whirlwind of news to start the downward slide. Five-star defensive end Bryce Langston (May 9), five-star wide receiver Trevonte Rucker (May 10) and four-star athlete Dink Jackson (May 10) all decommitted in the hours following Steele’s transfer, leaving UF with just two remaining commits in the 2021 class at this point in time.

Depending on what continues to leak out of Florida, more decommitments or transfers could continue to come, it’s a wait and see thing at this point. One thing is for sure, expect Florida State to do its due diligence on these 2021 prospects moving forward. The ‘Noles coaching staff had already offered Langston, Rucker, and Jackson in the past.

While it can be fun to poke at a rival school’s mistakes, these allegations against Mullen’s players are extremely serious and it’s obvious he needs to change something within his program. Decommitments and losses on the recruiting trail are one thing but sexual assault and domestic violence against women is an entirely bigger issue that Florida needs to address before it gets even more out of hand.


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