Florida five-star WR Justin Shorter granted immediate eligibility for 2020 season by NCAA

By Adam Silverstein
September 11, 2020
Florida five-star WR Justin Shorter granted immediate eligibility for 2020 season by NCAA
Football

Image Credit: Justin Shorter / Twitter

After more than eight months of waiting for the NCAA to make a ruling on his eligibility, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Justin Shorter learned Thursday that he will be able to play for the Florida Gators in 2020. The former five-star prospect transferred to Florida from Penn State in January.

“Finally got the waiver… go time.” Shorter posted on his Instagram.

One of the top 10 prospects in the Class of 2018, Shorter (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) barely played in two seasons at Penn State, totaling 157 yards and no touchdowns on 15 catches in 10 games over two years.

Though his first season was ended after four games due to injury, he was praised by his teammates during bowl practices and throughout the offseason program. He saw more action in 2019, his first full season, but was occasionally behind a walk-on when it came to the pregame depth charts. Inconsistency when given on-field opportunities and some reported struggles to drop weight appeared to contribute to his lack of role.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers sit out a year in residence; however, the association has been a bit more lax on those rules over the last two seasons. There is currently legislation seeking to grant all undergraduates in so-called revenue sports a one-time transfer exception where they will be able to play immediately without receiving a waiver.

Shorter was the second five-star transfer that head coach Dan Mullen added this offseason from the Class of 2018. Running back Lonrenzo Lingard announced also announced in January his transfer from Miami to Florida. The former No. 25 overall player in the nation, Lingard (6-foot, 200 pounds) similarly struggled with injuries through his first two years of college football.

Lingard also received approval from the NCAA for immediate eligibility, though his notice came in May. That led Mullen to wonder aloud multiple times over the last few months why Shorter had not yet heard about his status. Now, 16 days before the 2020 season kicks off for Florida, he knows his fate.

Shorter is the highest-rated prospect on the Gators’ roster since they signed five-stars Martez Ivey and CeCe Jefferson as part of the Class of 2015.

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