The University of Florida could be close to losing a top football recruit after a $13 million NIL deal has caused some controversy.
Quarterback Jaden Rashada, an All-American from Pittsburg, Calif., is a four-star recruit who signed an NIL deal worth that massive price tag on Nov. 10 with the Gator Collective, reports The Athletic.
“I would venture to say the Gator Collective is paying more guaranteed money than any group in the country,” Eddie Rojas, a former Gators baseball player and head of the Gator Collective, said in April. “When I write a contract, I want to make sure that we actually have the money in our account.”
It doesn’t appear that Rojas’ group did have that money, as they reneged on the deal with Rashada. The Athletic states that the deal had presumptive support from one of the Gator Collective’s top boosters, Hugh Hathcock, who donated almost $13 million last year.
But on Dec. 7, Rashada received a letter from Rojas wishing to terminate their deal. While it’s unclear the exact reason why that happened, the Gators’ football program was caught by surprise as they are not allowed to know specifics of NIL deals with players.
Rashada, though, is still a part of the Gators’ recruiting class for 2023, yet there’s still a catch: He hasn’t enrolled yet.
Early spring enrollment, which is usually what top recruits do to get in the building as quickly as possible to make the transition into college easier, ended on Jan. 13.
And while Rashada did indicate last week that he intends to go to Florida, the early-enrollment status still leaves him in limbo.
Harlen Rashada, Jaden’s father, told 247Sports that he and his son are “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,” Florida head coach Billy 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 has reportedly been offered a lesser NIL deal than the $13 million – still in the seven-figure range – but litigation could be on the table after the Gator Collective decided to pull the deal. That could only come if he decides not to agree to a new deal.