Shemar James decommits as Florida Gators football loses top 2022 recruit

By Adam Silverstein
October 20, 2021
Shemar James decommits as Florida Gators football loses top 2022 recruit

Image Credit: GatorsFB on Twitter

With the program spiraling amid consecutive losses and the temperature on head coach Dan Mullen’s seat rising, the Florida Gators on Wednesday lost the highest-rated commitment in their incoming Class of 2022. Four-star linebacker Shemar James (Mobile, AL) decommitted from the program after initially giving a verbal pledge to the Gators back in June.

James, the No. 70 overall prospect and 10th ranked linebacker in the nation, originally committed to Florida over Alabama. His decommitment comes fresh off a visit to Georgia, while the Crimson Tide have remained a factor for his services.

He had not visited the Gators since July when he attended the Friday Night Lights camp.

“This was a tough decision for me and my mom to make, but I will be de-committing from the University of Florida to open my recruitment back up,” James wrote without indication whether UF would remain in the hunt for his services.

James’ decommitment comes at a time of tremendous uncertainty for Florida. The program as a whole under Mullen faces intense scrutiny due to its immense inconsistency and failures on the field. The Gators are 2-6 against Power Five opponents since the LSU loss in 2020. That includes two losses each to undermanned (and struggling) LSU teams and two close defeats by Alabama. Mullen has also lost to Kentucky twice in four years, something no Florida coach has done in decades.

Whether growing calls for Mullen to replace embattled defensive coordinator Todd Grantham played into James’ decision is a factor that is not known. However, his decommitment is a blow to perhaps an even bigger problem area for Mullen, recruiting.

James’ departure tanks the Gators’ class to 18th in the 247Sports Composite team rankings with less than two months to go until the early and now more prominent National Signing Day in December.

Florida now does not have a single commitment ranked among the top 100 prospects in the nation nor does it have any of the top 19 players in the Sunshine State.

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