Florida sees four players decommit in 10 days

By Adam Silverstein
July 27, 2014

Four times in the last 10 days, a 2015 prospect previously committed to the Florida Gators has changed course and taken back his verbal pledge.

On Monday, less than 24 hours after three-star athlete Jalen Julius (Orlando, FL) reopened his recruitment, Florida learned that its second-highest rated pledge, four-star cornerback Marcus Lewis (Washington, D.C.) has decided to decommit as well.

“I am officially announcing my decommitment from the University of Florida. I am grateful for the opportunity the university granted me,” Lewis wrote on his Twitter account.

According to InsidetheGators.com‘s Blake Alderman and many other recruiting analysts, Lewis’s decommitment was a “long time coming.” He visited Michigan over the weekend and is expected to eventually make a pledge to continue his career there.

Rated by Rivals as the No. 84 overall player in the nation, Lewis committed to the Gators back on April 17. He cited Florida’s ability to put defensive backs in the NFL and the program’s recent addition of freshman cornerback Jalen Tabor, also a Washington, D.C. product, as big reasons for his decision.

Julius pulled his trigger on Sunday. The Gators were recruiting him as a cornerback, though as he mentioned on Twitter back on July 15: “I want to play [wide receiver] at the next level I feel like I would be a dominant player at that position.”

Three days prior to his decommitment, on Thursday, Julius tweeted that he could not wait to arrive in Gainesville, Florida, to participate in the annual Friday Night Lights camp.


Seven months after three-star defensive back Deontai Williams (Jacksonville, FL) became the Gators’ only 2015 commitment, the self-described life-long Florida fan flipped his pledge to Georgia, pulling the trigger on July 19.

Then, on July 21, three-star wideout Tristan Payton (Jacksonville, FL) announced on Twitter that he is no longer committed to UF after originally pledging to join the program on Feb. 24.

Florida, which now has just seven players committed for 2015, will fall from its 32nd spot in Rivals.com’s team rankings.

UF added two four-star commitments this month with offensive tackle Jerome Baker (Cleveland, OH) making his announcement on July 11 and offensive lineman George Brown, Jr. (Cincinnati, OH) announcing his decision on Friday.

Nevertheless, Florida has lost three pledges from skill position players in the last nine days including two that plan to play wide receiver in college.

The Gators hope to make up some ground in that area on Monday as the program eagerly awaits the decision of four-star ATH Ray-Ray McCloud III (Tampa, FL), the No. 26 overall player in the nation per Rivals.

[table “66” not found /]

Florida Gators Nike 2014 Football Sideline Elite Coaches Dri-FIT Performance Polo – Royal Blue $74.95

20 Comments

  1. Dave Massey says:

    Commitments in July don’t really concern me too much. Williams looked at Florida’s depth chart and saw that UGA dismissed three DB’s. I think that had more to do with the switch than anything. Julius wants to play wide receiver and Florida wants him as a corner. Still early in recruiting. Florida’s season will ultimately determine their success in recruiting this year anyways. Three 3 star decommits not a big blow.

  2. Ken (CA) says:

    even though they aren’t top tier recruits, you really have to wonder how much negative recruiting is going on and speculation as to whether or not this coaching staff will still be here at the end of the year. When you can’t even keep lifelong gator fans in the barn, that door is wide open for a full stampede.

  3. G2 says:

    No commitments from FNL yet? That’s kind of unusual.

    These 3 are not as bad as they might sound to other recruits. If the kid wants to switch positions, well ok, we are deep at corner. Just looks bad but what can you do? Everything hinges on the season anyway. This won’t be a year where we have many guys locked up early.

  4. MB says:

    Nothing has changed from when these players committed… the situation is the same….so why commit if it because of negative recruiting about whether the staff is here next year..that question was there before, during and after their commitment…we have not played one game to change anyone’s thoughts one way or the other

    • Dave Massey says:

      Georgia dismissed three DB’s, that has happened since their commit.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        That’s one of them, but in general, many higher tier schools may not have had a good look at these kids as early as UF did to evaluate them, now with all of the open time for the staff to focus on recruiting since they can’t interact with the team at all and the time where all the trouble seems to happen (no coincidence there, eh?), perhaps many other schools have looked at these “underrated” kids and seen the promise that the UF staff did early on and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they are preaching stability vs. instability and how do you know the staff that recruits you will even still be there in a few months?

        Recruiting is a cutthroat business and I would be shocked if those stories aren’t floating around regularly for the recruits to keep listening to over and over.

  5. SW FL Joe says:

    Looks like staff has given up on flipping Dexter Williams after FNL so we’ll file this under a “mutual parting of the ways”

  6. Daniel M. says:

    I’ll go with Dave’s angle, much more logical. Great comments Dave.

    Maybe the coaches roughed him up at FNL. Butt hurt?

  7. Michael J. says:

    The cover of UF’s media guide is becoming more realistic with each passing day. Losing three guys in nine days is pretty significant, if only from a momentum standpoint. These are all players UF wanted, so yes, it is a big deal. It seems more than likely that another guy, Marcus lewis, is going to back put of coming to Gainesville as well. Jalen Julius changing his mind is shocking. It was just a couple of days ago that he was, supposedly, one of the Gators biggest cheerleaders ad was bringing Dexter Williams with him to FNL and people were expecting Williams to flip to Florida. Now an above commenter says UF has no chance with Williams now. Wasn’t Tevin Coney supposed to pull the trigger at FNL? Now the rumor is that Ray Ray McCloud is going to commit to UF. He’s UF last shot at a running back, if that’s where they want to play him. What is really troubling is that UF is not oing well in the state of Florida, that’s a sure sign of disaster. If Ivey, Cowart, Jefferson, and Holland really are wanting to play for UF, now would be the time to say so. It might be too late next year, the train may have left the station by then.

    • SH Gator says:

      Mike,

      Take a chill pill dude. Its freaking July!! Way early to get all bent out of shape at this point. All the big names won’t be pulling the trigger anytime soon. UF has to perform on the field before any of those big names start pulling the trigger. Only time will tell so lets get this dang season kicked off already. I’m tired of all the talking, I can smell the tailgates getting closer and closer.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Thank you, SH. The voice of reason. For so many of these kids (not all, but too many), giving their word doesn’t mean squat. Frankly, I don’t even want a kid like that.

        But, more importantly, the way we perform this year will be our best (or worst) recruiting ally. This thing needs to play out and a lot of promises will be made, broken, re-made, re-broken, etc., etc., between now and National Signing Day. Play well, turn off Muschamp’s headset when we have the ball (he sure did a lot of talking for a guy who allegedly wasn’t involved in the play calling), and they will come.

        I’m not about to let a fickle teenager ruin my day. I’m determined to enjoy this season while we’re still undefeated!!

        Go Gators!!!!

      • Dave Massey says:

        Hey SH,
        That guy is a Nole troll. Don’t know what he said because I won’t read or respond to his comments. He has nothing but negative things to say about the Gators and will just keep making a bunch of inane arguments. Just do like I do and ignore him.

  8. Joe says:

    Agreed. We should not be concerned about anything but how we look on the field. The rest handles itself by NSD.

  9. J.A. says:

    The season will dictate what recruits we land. If Driskel stays healthy I see us finished up at 9-4 at best. If we’re lucky maybe 10-3. Realistically we will more than likely lose to Alabama, LSU, and FSU. Beating SC at home is realistic but will be a very tough challenge.

    The big unknown for the 4th consecutive year will be if we can develop a down-field passing attack. We have lacked explosive offensive plays the last few years at UF. Our offense has been nothing short of anemic under Muschamp!

  10. SW FL Joe says:

    Well so much for Ray Ray turning this around. I dont think we have ever come out of FNL without a commitment. Another record for the Muschamp era

  11. Michael J. says:

    Clemson is destroying Florida in it’s home state. An school from out of state, and an ACC school is crushing UF in Florida. Can it get any worse? UF’s salvation is in the hands of Jeff Driskel, so yes, it can get worse.

  12. Spike says:

    Im no recruiting insider but first – Michael J; in the last 3 years (Muschamps full recruiting classes) UF has had a final ranked class higher than Clemsons in each year according to 247 Sports. That doesn’t show that Clemson is destroying UF in recruiting.

    It is pure speculation but…it seems UFs MO these days is to accept some early commitments from some low 3 star or even unranked sleepers, only to cool on recruiting those players (check the past few years of early commits such as Knox and Paul last year) maybe cuz the coaches have changed opinions or have bigger fish to catch- thus signaling to the recruit they need to move on.

    So, it can work both ways- coaches and or players move on.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Hey Spike,

      The dude is a Nole troll, it’s best to ignore him. He makes ignorant arguments and thinks the more times you say something the more right you will be. Just like a spoiled brat. Do like I do, don’t read his BS comments, ignore him, and don’t respond to him. If you argue with an idiot, you become the idiot. He is no Gator fan. Nobody wants him on here but he is too much of a spoiled brat to go elsewhere.

      No program in the country is going to sign only 4 and 5 star recruits. Everybody has to round their class out with 3 stars mostly in the bigger programs. Some schools have to sign a lot of 2 stars. The 3 star recruits tend to commit early to the bigger programs like Florida because the likelihood of a scholarship being available late in the process becomes small or they don’t have any other offers from big programs at the time. Then they start getting offers and decommit. Even then some of the lower recruits have their offers rescinded by some schools because they don’t have room for them. So it is not just the players who change their mind, it just doesn’t usually get as much publicity when a school cools on a recruit. No programs success is going to hinge on how many 3 stars they get. To become an elite program you need 4’s and 5’s. Sure you will get a lot of starters and depth from the 3’s and every once in a while they will turn out to be better than rated. Young men’s bodies change a lot in the 18-22 year age, so you never know.

      This is July. No games have even been played yet by anybody. Things can and will change for everybody come February. A lot of guys won’t even decide until then, some on NSD, and still others will change their mind too. Let the season play out and then worry about commits.

Top