UF set to lose top rookie QB Jaden Rashada as NIL deal falls apart

UF set to lose top rookie QB Jaden Rashada as NIL deal falls apart

GAINESVILLE — Florida is set to lose top rookie quarterback Jaden Rashada after a multimillion-dollar name, image and likeness deal with the 19-year-old high schooler collapsed.

The potential high-profile failure would be a blow to a program pushing to bounce back from a 6-7 finish in coach Billy Napier’s first year at Gainesville.

On3 Sports reported that Rashada requested a release of his scholarship papers on Wednesday. The school has not confirmed whether the centerpiece of the Gators Class of 2023 plans to honor his commitment, signed Dec. 21 on National Early Signing Day.

Rashada’s request, however, would go to the NCAA.

Meanwhile, Rashada’s father, Harlen, told The Athletic his son had “not filed for release from Florida”. Rashada could still be cutting ties with Florida.

What is clear is that California high school star Rashada was due to sign up Monday after arriving in Gainesville from Orlando following the Jan. 3 Under Armor Next All-America game at Camping World Stadium.

Instead, Rashada returned home to Pittsburgh, a suburb of San Francisco, after an NIL deal of around $13 million went unhonoured, a source told The Orlando Sentinel.

The source also said the situation was “irreparable”.

The deal had persuaded Rashada to return his Miami commitment to Florida on November 10 and attend the Gators’ 38-6 win over South Carolina on November 12.

But Rashada, the nation’s No. 7 quarterback prospect according to 247Sports, kept things interesting until the 11th hour. Napier’s signing day press conference was delayed as the school was waiting for Rashada to sign the scholarship papers.

Less than two weeks later, Rashada appeared to be all-in on the Gators after the Under Armor game.

Pittsburgh quarterback Jaden Rashada throws against De La Salle during the North Shore Section Open Division Championship game at De La Salle High School on November 19, 2021 in Concord, California.

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Rashada said he’s on a “mission” and plans to add 25 pounds by late spring in a bid to compete with Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz for the job. departure.

Mertz, who started 32 games at Wisconsin, was expected to lead a quarterback contingent that included Rashada, redshirt freshman Max Brown and Jack Miller, a transfer from Ohio State in 2021 who has started the Gators’ 30-3 loss to Oregon State on Dec. 17. Las Vegas Bowl.

“One promise I can make right now is that I will be a completely different person in June than I am right now,” Rashada said.

Even at his current weight, Rashada has a living arm to make him one of the best natural passers in the 2023 class.

Over the past two seasons, he’s completed 60.1% of his throws for 5,275 yards, 59 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. A 5-star prospect by 247Sports and ranked No. 2 in his position by ESPN, Rashada signed to Miami in June to the dismay and disappointment of Florida fans.

Oregon also doggedly pursued Rashada, who is close friends with the 5-star receiver and fellow Northern California native Jurrion Dickey.

If Rashada never makes it to Gainesville, he would be the fifth quarterback to leave Napier’s program since joining in December 2021.

Anthony Richardson left for the NFL Draft after the 2022 season; on December 2, Jalen Kitna was fired following his arrest for child pornography; and 2021 spring starter Emory Jones transferred to Arizona State. Carlos Del-Rio Wilson was transferred to Syracuse in May 2022.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Edgar Thompson at egthompson@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @osgators.

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