5-star QB asking out of his letter of intent with Florida

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Five-star quarterback Jaden Rashada has asked out of his letter of intent at Florida, a source confirmed to the Gainesville Sun on Tuesday night.

That increases the likelihood that Rashada won’t play in a Florida uniform this season, if ever. Rashada filed paperwork on Tuesday requesting his release and Florida has up to 30 days to respond to his request.

Florida has typically granted LOI releases in the past during coaching changes. In 2015, Florida granted a release for forward Noah Dickerson when Billy Donovan left and was replaced by Mike White. Dickerson ended up at Washington.

If released, Rashada could sign with another school during the February signing period or later to register for the summer.

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The decision by Rashada and his family puts an end to a saga that put name, imagine and likeness deals into the national spotlight – but not in a good way. According to several reports, Rashada’s desire to leave is the result of a botched NIL deal involving the Gator Collective that may have totaled as much as $13 million when initially agreed upon.

Earlier this month, at the Under Armour All-American game in Orlando, Florida, Rashada said he intended to move to Gainesville the first weekend in January and enroll at Florida. His goal was not just to learn the playbook, but take advantage of Florida’s strength and conditioning program to add 25 pounds to his 6-foot-4, 175-pound frame.

But instead of going to Gainesville, Rashada returned to his native Pittsburg, California. He didn’t enroll the first day of the spring semester on Jan. 11 and missed last Friday’s drop-add deadline to enroll for the spring semester that would have made him eligible to participate in spring football.

It was another in a sea of red flags for Rashada, who was the last committed player to sign his NIL last December, delaying the start of head coach Billy Napier’s signing day press conference by close to an hour. Rashada was initially committed to Miami before flipping to Florida the second weekend of November and was in the stands for Florida’s 38-6 win over South Carolina at The Swamp.

Rashada was the highest-ranked player in Florida’s 2023 class, a four/five-star recruit ranked 56th nationally and seventh among quarterbacks per 247Sports composite.

Without him, Florida’s quarterback room is left with Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz, redshirt sophomore (and former Ohio State transfer) Jack Miller and sophomore Max Brown. The decision also will likely drop the overall ranking of Florida’s 2023 class, which had been ranked 12th overall nationally and fifth in the SEC.

The Gators could go back to the portal to find a fourth scholarship quarterback. Florida has reportedly reached out to LSU redshirt freshman quarterback Will Howard, a former Top 60 national recruit who also has drawn interest from Ole Miss and TCU.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY