Take Two: Is fallout from Steele transfer over at Florida?
Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and an expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites or a regional analyst.
The botched handling of Chris Steele’s request to be immediately moved from the dorm he shared with Jalon Jones cost Florida the five-star cornerback, who has entered the transfer portal, and could have cost the Gators a lot more as well.
The former Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco prospect reportedly asked to be moved out of the dorm room early in the spring semester, but Florida did not act and told Steele and his family he would be moved in the summer. Jones was accused by two female students in early April of sexual battery.
The move by Steele to enter the transfer portal so early in his Florida career was at first lambasted by those who did not know the situation and once more information was released it became clear Florida coach Dan Mullen and the Gators seem to be in the wrong about the timeliness of the move.
Recruits took notice. Three 2021 Florida commits backed off their pledges in recent days in defensive end Bryce Langston, linebacker Dink Jackson and receiver Trevonte Rucker. A fourth, defensive back Kamar Wilcoxson, de-committed from the Gators a little while back. Langston, Jackson and Rucker are all in-state prospects.
Many believe the handling of Steele’s situation precipitated many of those 2021 de-commitments. Florida’s 2020 class has remained stable - and impressive as the Gators are ranked as the eighth-best class in the team recruiting rankings with six four-stars out of their 10 commitments.
Florida’s 2021 class was decimated and the handling of Steele was certainly a factor. Will the Gators have problems with prospects in their 2020 class or have we seen the extent of the losses Florida will suffer because of this issue?
FIRST TAKE: Corey Bender, GatorsTerritory.com
"Some of these kids get into that moment and make that commitment, and then several months after you see them taking visits. Part of it is committing too early and having a change of heart with new offers coming their way, but a good chunk of UF's recent fallout in the 2021 class has been in response to the recent news surrounding Steele.
"Wilcoxson's de-commitment a couple of weeks back had nothing to do with the Steele situation, but for Langston, Jackson and Rucker, it's safe to say much of that was due to how everything was handled in Gainesville. Soon after the news surfaced on Twitter, Langston quoted it with an emoji thinking face.
"There are also a few 2020 commitments who have taken additional visits in recent months, like Morven Joseph and Gervon Dexter, but those trips took place prior to Steele's decision. What happened with Steele definitely doesn’t help, but the 2020 class has stayed intact to this point, while the 2021 class suffered a trio of de-commitments in less than a week span."
SECOND TAKE: Mike Farrell, Rivals.com
“They have to come out and say something and be definitive about it. There are two sides to every story and we’ve heard the side of Steele and his father and it’s caused this epidemic of de-commitments. That’s the main reason these 2021 kids are de-committing. They need to get out in front of this and say something if there is any defense that they have.
“I don’t think it will affect 2020 as much because those kids have been committed longer. I think they’ll have a good season on the field and that will help 2021, but they really need to get ahead of this.”