Before the traditional signing day in February, I wondered whether Florida coach Dan Mullen could have his Gators recruiting at an elite level.
The answer, a few hours later, seemed to be yes. UF ended Mullen’s first full recruiting class there with the No. 9 class in the country.
Six months later, that class continues to lose some of its luster. The latest example came Friday, when The Athletic’s Will Sammon reported that four-star receiver Arjei Henderson is being released from his letter of intent. He hadn’t yet joined the program because of academics.
Henderson became the fifth member of the Gators’ 2019 recruiting class to leave. The other four were also four-star prospects: defensive back Chris Steele (transferred to USC), quarterback Jalon Jones (left after being accused of sexual battery), linebacker Diwun Black (going to a junior college) and offensive lineman Deyavie Hammond (junior college). Another signee, Wardrick Wilson, hasn’t yet joined as his visa situation plays out.
Take away the departures, and UF’s recruiting class falls from ninth to No. 17, between Notre Dame and South Carolina. That’s three spots lower than last year and would be the program’s second-worst finish of the Rivals era.
The class still has potential, of course. All three defensive backs —Kaiir Elam, Chester Kimbrough and Jaydon Hill — should contribute this season. And the transfer portal has made it easier for teams to replenish their rosters in place of traditional recruits. That’s what Miami has done this offseason. UF’s certainly class looks better if you include Louisville transfer Jonathan Greenard and recent five-star Georgia transfer Brenton Cox.
But a recruiting class that looked like a sign of good things to come for UF now looks like another question mark in a rocky offseason.
Contact Matt Baker at email@example.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes