Top Florida recruit wants release from letter of intent after huge NIL deal fails. Due to the breakdown of a name, image, and likeness arrangement, Billy Napier and the Florida Gators have lost a top recruit.
On Tuesday, it was reported that quarterback recruit Jaden Rashada had asked to be released from his National Letter of Intent (LOI).
After failing to enroll at the University of Florida last week, Rashada, a four-star recruit from Pittsburg, California, sent up red flags about his commitment to play for the Gators.
The Associated Press reports that Rashada’s commitment to the Gators is based on the four-year, $13 million NIL deal he signed with the Gator Collective.
An athlete might benefit financially from using his or her name and likeness by joining the Gator Collective, a “fan club that connects players with fans.”
Rashada reportedly received a letter from the Gator Collective’s leader expressing a desire to terminate the agreement on December 7. This came as a surprise to the Florida football program.
If the AP’s reporting is accurate, this could have further repercussions if Rashada’s legal team decides to file a lawsuit against the Gator Collective and possibly the Florida athletic department.
He and his kid are “working through some things with Florida and hoping they get handled soon,” Rashada’s dad told 247 Sports last week.
With Rashada, “I just think there’s a high level of trust on both ends there,” Napier said when the recruiting class was revealed. “I can’t wait to see what he adds to our squad… You can’t say enough good things about Jaden as a person, a leader, and a person of character. Here at UF, Jaden has found a community and a place he calls home. That was genuine.”
Rashada was once committed to Miami but switched allegiances to Florida in November. He is currently ranked as the No. 7 quarterback recruit in 2023 by 247 Sports. In the short term, Rashada’s departure leaves Florida’s football team vulnerable at quarterback because of a lack of available backups.
The Gators let go of backup quarterback Jalen Kitna in December after he was jailed on child pornography allegations and lost Anthony Richardson to the NFL Draft.
Late in December, Florida signed Graham Mertz, a quarterback from Wisconsin, to compete with Jack Miller III for the starting role.