Report: Chris Steele return to Florida ‘not out of the question’ after apology

By Adam Silverstein
May 10, 2019
Report: Chris Steele return to Florida ‘not out of the question’ after apology
Football

Image Credit: ESPN Images

It was a rough day for the Florida Gators on Wednesday when it was revealed that four-star defensive back Chris Steele, the program’s top incoming freshman who was expected to see significant playing time in 2019, entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal. Though Steele participated in spring practice, the 42nd-ranked player in the Class of 2019 was unhappy with his living situation, an issue that escalated greatly following an incident by his roommate after his complaints were reportedly not addressed by the coaching staff.

Steele’s transfer was reportedly prompted by the Florida coaching staff not granting his request to change his dormitory when he arrived on campus. According to Zach Abolverdi of The Gainesville Sun, Steele was “uncomfortable rooming with quarterback Jalon Jones” but was told that his dorm would not change until the summer session, which “upset Steele and his parents.”

Two female students accused Jones of sexual assault after a set of incidents at the dorm on April 6. The women decided not to press charges, but Jones entered the NCAA transfer portal and Steele’s name wound up in some reports simply because he was Jones’ roommate. The incidents “prompted Steele to seek a transfer,” according to Abolverdi.

Apparently, Steele has been home in his native California for two weeks, according to an ESPN report published early Friday morning, which further notes that Steele’s multiple complaints about Jones dated back to January.

Head coach Dan Mullen and his wife, Megan, flew to California on Wednesday to meet with Steele and apologize to his family, according to ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren, in an effort to have Steele rejoin the Gators.

Steele returning to the Gators is not out of the question, as a source told ESPN.com that the Steele family thinks very highly of Mullen, but it will be difficult as Steele was traumatized by being associated with the police report.

In response to that story, Abolverdi tweeted that Steele informed Mullen he would be transferring Wednesday night. That does not preclude a return, but it appears Steele is not seriously considering it.

As it stands, Steele would have to sit an NCAA-mandated year in residence as part of his transfer, making him ineligible to play for his new school until 2020. Should Steele choose to seek a waiver from the NCAA for immediate eligibility, which is advisable, he would have a legitimate case for one considering his reported reason for transfer.

It is worth noting that we have only heard Steele’s side of this story as Florida is unable to comment on his situation due to student privacy laws. It had previously been reported that Steele was homesick shortly after enrolling at UF for being far away from his native Southern California. That said, Mullen did reportedly apologize, and he would not have apologized for nothing.

Should Steele choose to transfer elsewhere, this would mark the second time in three years that one of the team’s top freshmen will not play a down for Florida. The 115th-ranked prospect and the Gators’ second-highest ranked commitment in 2017, four-star wide receiver James Robinson, saw his career end before it started due to a heart condition.

In addition to Steele and Jones transferring, junior CB Brian Edwards was recently arrested for battery as part of a domestic incident. His future with the program is unknown.

21 Comments

  1. Avatar 1974Gator says:

    It does sound like Steele is over reacting. I hope that the violence is not a team culture kind of thing. What are these preditors (Jones, Edwards, others) on? Are they feeding these guys some kind of steroids? Someone needs to offer these guys some sensitivity training. It sounds like they have no patience with a woman telling them they aren’t as great as they think they are. Nothing like a woman for deflating egos.

    • Avatar Joey says:

      Well since he just got there I am assuming you can’t blame jones on florida.

    • Avatar Max says:

      No, this isn’t a team culture…and no UF I’d not ‘feeding’ them steroids. Just some young kids making some stupid decisions. The bad will weed themselves out.

    • Avatar RLL says:

      “It does sound like Steele is over reacting”
      1974Gator thinks sexual assault is no big deal

    • Avatar Colortv1967 says:

      Not to me. Some people (very few) still have high moral standards. If he has been making the coach staff aware of this situation for some time, then he had no other recourse. If it is a reported, this is on Mullen and staff, the grown men.

  2. Avatar Scott Steagle, the War Eagle! says:

    The kid needs to go where he is offered the most money, both for him and his family. I know Auburn would be willing to pay big bucks and something tells me the gators aren’t to fork over squat. The gators can go to hell.

  3. Avatar Collin says:

    Yeah, sounds like there needs to be more discussions between Mullen and Steele. Who knows if Steele even spoke to Mullen directly. People make mistakes. Maybe some conversations will help.

  4. Avatar Gatorman says:

    Let him go. He is not up to the Gator standard. Looks like he was looking for a reason to run home. He’ll be perfect for UCLA or USC.

  5. Avatar Matt says:

    Going out to California sounds like the Dan Mullen I know. Even if we don’t get this talented young man back, Coach Mullen demonstrated class by flying across the country to personally apologize. It’s terrible this young man was mentioned in an article about a criminal allegation that he had nothing to do with and had taken action beforehand to avoid. Chris is sending a message for what he stands for as a person, that he didn’t have anything to do with Jalon Jones actions and won’t tolerate his name being connected to an incident involving violence against females. Sounds like he took a stand and it was an effective message sent. So what we have are two parties with class, Coach Mullen and Chris Steele. I think this can be repaired if Chris will give a new situation a chance. Don’t let Jalon Jones ruin this for Gator football and Chris Steele. Chris we want you to remain a Gator!

  6. Avatar atone says:

    I sure hope by some miracle Chris Steele and his family think it over and decide to give FL another chance to make things right.
    Hopefully some time and discussions will help everything here.
    I believe Steele would have played nearly a quarter or more of the downs of each game this year for FL… so definitely immediate playing time awaits him here. And maybe even a difference maker in many games in the SEC season eg. TN,SC,Vandy,KY,etc. So the sky’s the limit.
    …….

  7. Avatar Coachb says:

    Hope he returns to UF.

  8. Avatar Reality says:

    Wow at the denial. You have a freshman asking to be moved away from a bad seed that is assaulting women, and is ignored. You have numerous UF players attacking Chris on Twitter instead of supporting his decision. You have someone on here saying Chris is not “up to Gator standards”, I guess like sexual assault, indifference to players’ concerns, and classless player actions. And you have an act of desperation by the coach to finally fly out to try to address this issue listed as an act of class instead of too little too late. Maybe a rational look at this can bring about some positive change, rather than putting your head in the sand.

  9. Avatar Ardres Henry says:

    either way we gone be good if he come back kool if he dont kool that just mean these other guys will have a chance to step up and show out like we do

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