Florida five-star QB signee Jaden Rashada not enrolled in classes, may not join Gators (updated)

By OnlyGators.com Staff
January 11, 2023
Florida five-star QB signee Jaden Rashada not enrolled in classes, may not join Gators (updated)

Image Credit: GatorsFB on Twitter

Disaster may be striking for the Florida Gators. Five-star quarterback Jaden Rashada (Pittsburg, CA), the crown jewel of the program’s Class of 2023, has yet to arrive on campus in Gainesville, Florida, amid a significant snag in his substantial NIL agreement, a source with direct knowledge of the situation tells OnlyGators.com. It is now a legitimate concern whether the signal caller will join the program at all.

That source was informed Wednesday that Rashada requested a release from his National Letter of Intent with the Gators, a development first reported by On3.com earlier in the afternoon. However, the quarterback’s father, Harlen Rashada, told 247Sports’ Brandon Huffman such paperwork has not been filed with Florida.

“Jaden has not filed a request for release from Florida,” Harlen said.

Beyond that, Harlen told Huffman later Wednesday that a conversation with the Gators is planned for Thursday with the parties hoping to resolve the outstanding issue. “Jaden … is eagerly anticipating early enrollment in Gainesville,” he said.

Rashada’s father is the only party actually on record about his son’s situation at this time. Whether his comments are simply a matter of semantics — the difference between a request and paperwork formally being filed — remains to be seen, but a resolution of this outstanding issue is believed to be difficult and perhaps even unlikely.

Either way, the add/drop deadline for the spring semester at UF is Friday, meaning Rashada will need to make a decision about his enrollment before the end of the week.

While he could theoretically delay his enrollment until the summer, it’s fair to believe that the relationship with Florida might be so strained that he would immediately set his sights elsewhere. That’s if he does not already have a backup plan in place for spring enrollment at another program.

The aforementioned source told OnlyGators.com that the value of Rashada’s NIL deal reported elsewhere is inflated and not accurate. OnlyGators.com cannot specify the details of the agreement, though the snag exists in the initial part of the deal.

Rashada was long expected to commit to the Gators out of high school only to surprisingly pledge to Miami initially before ultimately flipping to Florida six weeks before the early signing period. He concerned fans on National Day when he was late to send his NLI, and since the start of the spring semester, he neither appeared on campus nor enrolled in classes despite being accepted by UF academically.

If Rashada ultimately decides to walk away from the Gators, it would be solely due to an issue with his NIL agreement, the source said. Those concerns caused him to initially delay his arrival to campus. The deadline to enroll in classes is Friday.

Rashada’s call will neither be a football nor an academic decision. He was expressing his excitement to join the program as recently as earlier this month.

Specifics regarding Rashada’s situation are being kept close to the vest, but Florida potentially losing the top player in its class would be not only a terrible development for the forthcoming 2023 season but likely long-term as well. Questions would be be raised by competing programs to future prospects the Gators are targeting pushing doubt into their minds about whether those holding NIL affiliations with the program will live up to their agreements.

The No. 29 overall player in the Class of 2023, Rashada was expected to compete for the starting quarterback job as a true freshman. Without him in the class, Florida would fall from 11th to 14th in the 247Sports Composite team rankings.

Far worse than the class rankings drop, though, would be the Gators’ situation at the most important position in the game.

After losing Anthony Richardson to the NFL Draft, dismissing Jalen Kitna (after a felony arrest), pulling a scholarship offer from four-star QB Marcus Stokes (due to a social media post) and potentially losing Rashada, Florida would enter the 2023 season with three-star transfer Graham Mertz (Wisconsin) as the team’s presumed starter.

Mertz threw for 19 touchdowns with 10 interceptions while completing just 57.3% of his passes last season for the Badgers. His acquisition out of the transfer portal was a head-scratcher to say the least.

Behind him on the roster are redshirt sophomore Jack Miller III, who failed to lead the Gators to a touchdown drive in the 2022 Las Vegas Bowl, and sophomore QB Max Brown, the No. 35 QB in the Class of 2022, according to 247Sports.

The initial version of this story has been updated.

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