Billy Napier and the Florida Gators appear to have lost a top recruit due to a name, image, and likeness deal falling through.
Quarterback recruit Jaden Rashada requested a release from his National Letter of Intent (LOI) on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.
Rashada, a four-star recruit from Pittsburg, California, failed to enroll at Florida last week, raising red flags that his future in Gainesville was in doubt.
Rashada’s commitment to the Gators was contingent on a four-year, $13 million NIL deal he signed with the Gator Collective, according to The Associated Press.
The Gator Collective is a “fan club that connects athletes with fans while allowing the athletes to earn compensation for their name, image, and likeness.”
On Dec. 7, Rashada reportedly received a letter from the head of the Gator Collective wishing to terminate the deal, catching the Florida football program off guard.
The situation could have further ramifications as Rashada’s representatives could file a lawsuit against the Gator Collective and potentially the Florida athletic department, per the AP.
Last week, Rashada’s father told 247 Sports that he and his son were “working through some things right now with Florida and hoping that they get resolved soon.”
“I just think there’s a high level of trust on both ends there,” Napier said of Rashada when the recruiting class was announced. “I’m really excited about what he’s going to bring to our team…. Can’t compliment Jaden enough relative to who he is as a person, as a leader, his character. Jaden is a guy who came here and fell in love with the University of Florida and really connected with a lot of people here. It was sincere.”
Rashada is the No. 7 ranked QB recruit in the 247 Sports 2023 class and originally committed to Miami before flipping to Florida in November.
In the short term, the loss of Rashada is a blow for Florida’s football program, which is now scrambling for depth at the quarterback position.
The Gators lost Anthony Richardson to the NFL Draft and dismissed backup quarterback Jalen Kitna in December after he was arrested on child pornography charges.
Florida did sign former Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz in late December to compete with Jack Miller III for the starting job.
Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report