1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Gators

Florida Gators’ Dan Mullen 'disappointed’ in Jalon Jones, Brian Edwards accusations

Before a speaking stop in Tampa, Mullen also addressed the recent transfer of blue-chip defensive back Chris Steele.
Published May 15, 2019
Updated May 16, 2019

TAMPA — When Florida coach Dan Mullen arrived at Armature Works to speak to the Tampa Gator Club, he was adamant that the reality of his program is rosier than the three-week string of ugly accusations suggests.

“Obviously perception’s always important because there’s a lot of reality behind it,” Mullen said. “To me, I think there’s a lot of reality about the positive direction that we’re headed in the program as a whole despite the disappointment with some of the decisions that a couple of individuals have made.”

But Mullen finally addressed that disappointment and his program’s dented perception Wednesday night.

RELATED: How concerned should the Florida Gators be after Chris Steele’s transfer?

There was a lot to discuss.

Two players and one staffer have been accused of violence against women. The staffer, assistant director of player personnel Otis Yelverton, remains on administrative leave after his felony arrest last month on an aggravated stalking complaint —including an allegation that he threatened to blow up his ex-girlfriend’s car.

Mullen said one of the players, Brian Edwards, is still enrolled at UF but “not participating in team activities” after being arrested last week on a battery complaint that he grabbed his girlfriend by the neck in a fight.

Mullen is letting their legal processes play out before making any long-term decisions about either.

“My job’s not an investigator…” Mullen said. “That’s the best way to make a decision, once you have all the information. It’s not always great to have to wait to get all the information, but it’s the best way to make a decision.”

Mullen defended that philosophy, too, when it came to the two sexual battery allegations against blue-chip early enrollee quarterback Jalon Jones.

The complaints were made on April 6 by two women who both declined to pursue criminal charges. Jones participated in the spring game a week later (and has since entered the NCAA transfer portal).

“I think reports were coming out to us at that point…” Mullen said, stressing that the Gators followed their campus protocol. “When we got the details of the situation, we immediately, with him, suspended him from team activities until we could get all the information we needed.”

Mullen said he’d like to say he has a zero-tolerance policy on violence against women or sexual misconduct, but he’d be “hypocritical if you look at my history to say to that is a 100 percent deal.” His Mississippi State program only suspended incoming defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons for one game after the incoming five-star recruit was caught on camera punching a woman on the ground.

“In retrospect, I’d stand by my decision I made the last time, with Jeffery Simmons,” Mullen said. “But I had a lot of information to make that decision, probably maybe that wasn’t even public or people didn’t research or know to make that decision. Obviously, anybody that knows me I like to take an extremely strong stance on that. I don’t see anything acceptable about that, any violence against women, whether it’s a violent act or a wrongful sexual act toward women.”

But the perception of how Mullen handles these cases has come into question — and a report about one of his (now former) players isn’t helping.

UF’s top 2019 recruit, blue-chip defensive back Chris Steele, transferred to Oregon this week. The Gainesville Sun reported that his unhappiness was rooted in UF not allowing him to ditch Jones as his roommate because of concern about his conduct, even before the sexual battery complaints.

RELATED: The Florida Gators keep losing their top recruits. Chris Steele is just the latest

Mullen declined to specifically address that report, or to detail the private conversations he had with Steele’s family after flying to see them in California. But he said “a bunch of things” went into Steele’s choice.

By passing on the chance to explain his version of Steele’s decision, Mullen is allowing the negative narrative to linger.

And whatever the reality is, the perception isn’t as rosy as Mullen wants it to be.

Contact Matt Baker at Follow @MBakerTBTimes.


  1. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow holds the national championship trophy as safety Grant Delpit looks on after the Tigers beat Clemson 42-25 on Jan. 13 in New Orleans. [GERALD HERBERT  |  AP]
    The LSU Tigers faced five top-seven defenses, averaging 38 points against them.
  2. Coach Mike White has Florida come off a big home win over Auburn on Saturday and lose 84-82 at LSU three days later. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Video review shows time ran out just before Florida’s tying layup.
  3. Florida head coach Dan Mullen celebrates after the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game against Virginia, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Florida won 36-28. [BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP]
    Defensive tackle signee Gervon Dexter has earned his fifth star.
  4. Florida forward Omar Payne (5) runs up court after making a shot against Auburn during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla. Payne was a perfect 9 for 9 shooting during the game. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Previewing the Gators’ 7 p.m game at LSU on Tuesday.
  5. IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR ALLSTATE - Tim Tebow and fiancé Demi Nel-Peters volunteer together alongside Allstate volunteers at a community service project to benefit the Einstein Charter School ahead of the 2020 Allstate Sugar Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, in New Orleans. (Cheryl Gerber/AP Images for Allstate) [CHERYL GERBER  |  AP]
    The former quarterback and current Mets minor leaguer previously said he planned to remain a virgin until marriage.
  6. Kentucky Wildcats linebacker Josh Allen (41) takes aim for Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) during a 2018 game. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The grad transfer will be eligible immediately.
  7. Auburn center Austin Wiley guards Florida forward Omar Payne during the first half of their game on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Gainesville. Payne, a freshman out of Montverde Academy, finishes with a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for his first double double in college. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Freshman Omar Payne has a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds as UF earns its most impressive victory of the season.
  8. Florida's Keyontae Johnson, shown here scoring against Arkansas in last season's SEC tournament, is averaging 13 points and 6.8 rebounds this season. [MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP]
    UF looks for an elite win Saturday at home, where it has won five in row, to help strengthen its NCAA Tournament resume.
  9. Florida guard Andrew Nembhard shoots over Mississippi guard Devontae Shuler during their game Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Gainesville. [BRAD MCCLENNY  |  AP]
    Coach Mike White says his point guard missed practice Thursday and Friday. If he’s out, freshmen Tre Mann or Ques Glover likely will start Saturday.
  10. Todd Monken spent two seasons in Tampa Bay, the last as offensive coordinator, before being dismissed along with the rest of head coach Dirk Koetter's staff after the 2018 season.
    Tampa Bay’s former play-caller will be designing game plans for the Bulldogs against the Florida Gators next season.