Updated on Saturday at 6:15 p.m.
Though his National Letter of Intent is still not in the hands of the Florida Gators, five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson (Glen Saint Mary, FL) continues to give every indication that he will remain committed to and ultimately sign with the program.
Jefferson not submitting his signed letter on Thursday, one day after National Signing Day, raised a number of eyebrows, especially considering his dad, Leo Jefferson, told different stories to a number of media outlets. But while the father’s story changed, CeCe Jefferson has never appeared to waiver from his commitment, even in light of defensive line coach Terrell Williams being hired away by the Miami Dolphins.
Thursday evening, CeCe Jefferson took to Twitter to explain his side of the story: “I haven’t sent in my LOI because someone told me a few days before NSD that [W]illiams was leaving, why send it in without being sure?” he began. “I’m a Gator my dude! Forget all these rumors that I was paid, my parents disagreed [with] my decision, all of that … My last tweet is why [I] held out … So to all my haters, [i]t’s still Gator Gang!”
His father told a different story via his Twitter account: “Yes we are holding out. Florida [is] making to[o] many coaching changes this is not a game it’s my son life,” he began. “Why is it OK for a school to withhold certain information that is important to a kids decision? But it’s not OK for a kid to change his mind[?]”
CeCe Jefferson continued retweeting positive Florida-centric tweets through the night. On Friday morning, his Instagram profile (which reads “University of Florida commit” with an alligator emoji icon) included the below picture and message to Gators redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Caleb Brantley: “I’ll meet ya at the QB…”
Despite the player’s social media offerings, much remains unknown at this time, primarily if and when he will actually submit his National Letter of Intent.
However, there are other questions lingering as well. The Jeffersons obviously knew about the planned departure of Williams, as was reported by ESPN.com recruiting analyst Derek Tyson, but it has yet to be determined whether it was Florida (or perhaps another school) that provided them that information. Even if Williams’s departure is somewhat of an issue, is it really a large one considering the limited time the Jeffersons knew Williams and the supposedly strong relationship they had with outgoing position coach Brad Lawing? If CeCe Jefferson is indeed decided on Florida, and his father (who has changed his story multiple times) claimed he will sign the letter if that is his son’s decision, why is it not signed and submitted?
Though the final signing date for a National Letter of Intent for football is April 1, 2015, the letter itself becomes invalid seven days after issuance. Prospects under the age of 21 must have their signature accompanied by an individual parent or legal guardian.
Update: According to Jon Shumake, sports editor of The Baker County Press (Jefferson’s hometown newspaper), “CeCe Jefferson said he was excited about Florida hiring defensive line coach Chris Rumph … [adding that] he doesn’t know about sending in [his letter of intent] tonight or tomorrow, but he’s still ‘100 percent’ committed to Florida.”
Update II: Jefferson now plans to send his letter of intent “sometime next week,” according to Shumake.
Update III: On Saturday, Jefferson reaffirmed once again that he remains committed to the Gators and will be sending in his letter of intent sooner than later. “I’m a Gator and my LOI will be turned in soon, my dad and [defensive coordinator Geoff] Collins had a long talk today,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
OnlyGators.com will updated this story, as necessary, throughout the day on Saturday.