Chomp: What’s going on in the Jaden Rashada and Florida Gators saga?

FILE (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) (Jonathan Bachman, 2018 Jonathan Bachman)

This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators football newsletter. Subscribe here.

Hey, Gators fans,

Let’s get straight into what’s going on with highly-ranked quarterback recruit Jaden Rashada.

What’s going on with Rashada & Florida❔

Rashada, who the Gators signed during the early signing period in December after flipping him from Miami, missed the deadline Friday to enroll at the University of Florida for the spring semester, according to media reports.

That means the four-star quarterback in the 2023 class wouldn’t be able to participate in spring football unless he receives an exception, according to The Gainesville Sun.

There are a lot of reports out there, but it seems this situation revolves around a name, image and likeness (NIL) deal. The Athletic published an article with the headline: “How the $13 million recruitment of Jaden Rashada for Florida fell apart.”

And while there is a lot that’s unknown, this is definitely a PR nightmare for Florida, and there are going to be other programs that are going to spin this to recruits in a way that’s going to hurt for Florida.

In the latest episode of Gators Breakdown, host David Waters gives his take on the Florida and Rashada saga and shares the information that has been provided straight to him about this.

Without Rashada, the quarterback room includes Graham Mertz, who just transferred from Wisconsin, and Jack Miller III, who transferred from Ohio State ahead of last season and made his debut at quarterback for the orange and blue in Florida’s 30-3 Las Vegas Bowl loss to Oregon State.

🏈 Florida football gets more new additions

Since our last edition of Chomp, the Gator football team has received commitments from two transfer players.

Alabama offensive lineman transfer Damieon George announced Monday his pledge to the Gators.

And last week, Baylor offensive lineman transfer Micah Mazzccua committed to Florida.

In another Gators Breakdown episode, David and Will Miles, with Read and Reaction, discuss Mazzccua’s commitment. In the episode, they also give an early look at the 2023 season.

Speaking of next season, wide receiver Ricky Pearsall will be returning.

“I’m back,” he tweeted over the weekend.

And with 35 players leaving the Gators from the 2022 team, George, Mazzccua and Pearsall will all be needed. You can watch David’s YouTube video here on the players leaving the Florida program.

David says the Gators need Pearsall’s experience, production and leadership with that position group.

He will have a new podcast episode out soon discussing the news about Pearsall and George.

🏀 Gators men’s hoops get back-to-back wins

The Florida men’s basketball team got two Southeastern Conference wins last week.

On Tuesday night, the Gators went on the road and handed LSU its third-straight loss, 67-56. Forward Colin Castleton scored 18 points, made a career-high 12 foul shots, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked five shots.

GAME RECAPS: Castleton’s 18 points helps send Florida past LSU | Florida beats Mizzou behind Castleton’s double-double

The Gators were back in Gainesville this past Saturday, where they came from behind to defeat Missouri 73-64. Castleton once again shined. He had 16 points and 13 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

On Monday, Castleton was named SEC Player of the Week after helping his team earn the pair of victories.

In the meantime, forward CJ Felder has left the team for personal reasons, although coach Todd Golden left the door open for his return later this season.

“CJ Felder’s going to take a little time away from the team for personal reasons,” the first-year coach of the Gators said last week. “Definitely nothing disciplinary, still a part of our family, love him. He’s just going through a little bit of a time right now and leaving the door open for him to join the team again this season whenever he’s ready.”

Felder transferred to Florida in 2021 after two seasons at Boston College. He’s served mostly as a role player for the Gators, who have tweaked their rotation several times under Golden.

READ MORE: Florida F Felder leaves team for personal reasons

This week, the Gators have back-to-back road games. They will head to College Station to take on Texas A&M at 7 p.m. Wednesday, and then this Saturday, they’ll be in Starkville to face Mississippi State. Tipoff for that game is set for 8:30 p.m.

✉️ Send us your Gators thoughts & questions

David and I want to hear from you. Do you have any thoughts or questions about the Gators football program? Agree or disagree with something we’ve said? Let us know here, and we’ll share our responses to your questions.

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