Florida football recruiting: Gators hit hard as fourth 2019 signee departs

By Adam Silverstein
July 6, 2019
Florida football recruiting: Gators hit hard as fourth 2019 signee departs
Football

Image Credit: ESPNI

The Florida Gators’ much-heralded Class of 2019, which wound up ranked No. 9 nationally in the 247Sports Composite following National Signing Day, has been hit hard with defections and is now down four of its most talented signees. Four-star offensive lineman Deyavie Hammond announced Saturday that he did not pass the NCAA clearinghouse to be academically qualified to attend Florida and play football for the Gators; he will instead attend junior college this semester.

“To my dismay and My supporters over the course of my football career. I did not qualify for the NCAA and I will not be attending the University of Florida,” he wrote on Twitter. “… I will be attending a JuCo for the next two years. … Saddening as the situation is I will forever cheer gator nation.”

Hammond was ranked as the 242th overall recruit in the Class of 2019 and becomes the fourth prominent Florida signee to leave the program before ever playing a down for the Gators. Four-star cornerback Chris Steele (No. 42 overall), four-star linebacker Diwun Black (No. 151) and four-star quarterback Jalon Jones (No. 306) are the others who were either unable to enroll (Black, an early signee) or left the program after arriving (Steele, Jones).

How big of a hit has Florida taken from these departures? Consider that its class would be 15th if the rankings were rerun today (that’s without Steele and others being added to USC’s haul as well as adjustments for other teams).

What’s worse? The departures from the class may not be over.

Four-star wide receiver Arjei Henderson (No. 140), four-star OL Wardrick Wilson (No. 372) and three-star WR Dionte Marks (No. 489) are still not enrolled and are hoping to do get cleared for fall after being unable to make it in for the Summer B semester.

There is no sugar-coating these developments for the Gators. There is no circumstance in which a team of this caliber should have a class with five prominent signees facing academic qualifying issues, and both the coaches and recruiting staff should have done a better job when targeting players this cycle. The eventual transfers of Steele and Jones are more happenstance, particularly Steele who by all accounts was homesick in addition to whatever unfortunate circumstances he experienced by rooming with Jones.

The sliver of good news is that Florida is off to a hot start in the Class of 2020, which is already ranked ninth nationally with five months to go until the early signing period and seven until National Signing Day.

6 Comments

  1. 1974Gator says:

    This happens when outstanding athletes skate through high school. Academics are a key measuring stick as to the qualifications of a recruit. Also, the UF academic qualification bar is higher than 12 of the other SEC schools. C’est la Vie. Go Gators!

    • Anthony Boschi says:

      Agreed. Who wants someone on the team who probably wouldnt even be able to play on gameday because he cant handke it academically? No big loss. Go Gators!

    • Dan says:

      Other than Vandy, all the SEC football qualifying standards are a joke! UF’s standards are not significantly higher than the others and you can still qualify with a SAT under 900 and a 2.6 GPA!

  2. Quentin E Clark says:

    In my belief, and I have loved the 🐊 all my life over 30yrs,winning period is the pedigree to all success but I am overly confident in one thing about my 🐊,since Dan Mullen returned I think the team is exactly where it should be to get back to National prominence!!!!

  3. Casper says:

    This is what happens when coaches go after any player just to make their rankings look better. Good coaches only offer scholarships to players who fit their system and have a good chance of qualifying. It’s also easy to attribute Chris Steele’s exit as being “homesick”, but there was obviously character questions there that he and his parents didn’t agree with. Good for him. He’s better off. I love the Gators, but this has been the worse offseason I can remember, and the worst of any program this year. Coaches need to be held accountable.

  4. Michael Jones says:

    No need to disrespect the kid. Why does Gator Nation always have to be like that? He’s heartbroken and we should be too . .besides, in two years he’ll be ready to play Div I and I would like for him to have better memories of UF than being trashed in the comments section of OGGOA. Go Gators!!!

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