Farewell, Jaden Rashada (Photo via Under Armor Next All-America Game)
UPDATE: Florida has officially granted Jaden Rashada a release from his letter of intent. Best of luck to Jaden as he moves forward.
One of the wildest recruiting sagas in recent memory appears to finally have a resolution. And it’s not the outcome that Florida Gator fans had hoped for- but it’s the one many of us could see coming for days.
Following a week-long roller-coaster ride, QB Jaden Rashada is not going to enroll at the University of Florida for the spring semester. According to sources from 247Sports, Rashada has filed paperwork requesting that he be released from his letter of intent. Florida now has thirty days to respond to the request.
In theory, Florida could deny the request and force Rashada to burn his one free transfer without sitting a year out, but logic says that is very unlikely. For one thing, other schools would ruthlessly and relentlessly use that against Florida on the recruiting trail. For another thing, all indications (not the least of which is the Gators’ bustling activity in the transfer portal, including a visit to former LSU QB Walker Howard) say that Florida wants to be done with the whole mess, and move forward.
Assuming Florida grants the request of Jaden Rashada, that will be exactly what happens. Both sides will move on: Florida will proceed with Graham Mertz, Jack Miller, and Max Brown at QB, and Jaden Rashada will begin the process of looking for a new school to call home, and go through the recruitment process once more.
Rashada’s failure to sign hurts him, too. It’s already too late for him to be enrolled in the spring semester at any school in the country now, and that’s assuming he picks a school tomorrow, which is not exactly a safe bet. Going through spring practice feels like a prerequisite to playing as a true freshman in today’s college football, and Rashada won’t get that chance. That will put him behind the eight-ball in learning his new program’s offensive system, and getting the chance to develop chemistry with his receivers.
In theory, it’s possible for things to get straightened out between Rashada and Florida, and Rashada could enroll in summer classes. This has happened before with athletes who are initially slated to enroll in the spring, do not, but still want to attend that school. But a source told me that “this is extremely unlikely and honestly, probably not even worth entertaining as a possibility. This is done.”
The drama started last Monday afternoon. Move-in day for early enrollees at Florida was last weekend, and while most of the signees did enroll at the school and show up to unpack and begin their new lives as UF students, Rashada was notably absent. This, naturally, spawned waves of concern and frustration among Florida fans, as Rashada was the Gators’ prized QB signee.
Those waves of concern and frustration became full-blown tsunamis on Wednesday night, when On3 reported that Jaden Rashada had asked to be released from his letter of intent. 247Sports quickly countered by speaking with Jaden’s father Harlen, and getting an update on where things stood. Harlen Rashada went on to explain that things were being worked through, that Jaden had not asked to be released from his letter of intent, and that Jaden was “excited about the next chapter of his academic and athletic career.”
Evidently not excited enough to enroll at Florida, though. Instead, this will all go down as the final loop-the-loop in a recruiting roller-coaster filled with them.
Back in the summer, the tea leaves seemed to be pointing toward a commitment to Florida for the Pittsburg (CA) signal-caller. At the last second, Miami swooped in and took him away, presumably with a nice NIL deal. The Gators countered by flipping QB Marcus Stokes away from Penn State, and that appeared to be that.
Florida, though, didn’t give up on Rashada.
As Rashada watched the Hurricanes take one embarrassing loss after another, Florida kept pushing. Eventually, Rashada flipped over to Florida in the dead of night back in November. Not long after that, Stokes was caught rapping the n-word on a video that was leaked to social media, Florida pulled his scholarship, and it all seemed to be set: Jaden Rashada was going to be Florida’s QB in the class of 2023.
Until he wasn’t.