OPINION: Don’t be distracted by drama, Gators recruiting is still on track

The world of Gators recruiting is in turmoil. The saga leading to four-star quarterback recruit Jaden Rashada’s choice of Miami for his college destination has left a large portion of Gators fans feeling perturbed. However, despite the terrible optics of the timing and circumstances of his commitment to the ‘Canes, don’t let yourself be pulled under by the riptide. The coaching staff hasn’t failed, not yet at least.

First of all, it’s becoming clearer and clearer with each piece of news about Rashada that there was likely malpractice, if not outright wrongdoing by someone involved, although who exactly to point the finger at is still muddy. In a world that is still distrustful of NIL payouts to college athletes, being on the business end of a potential investigation by the NCAA is a situation the Gators no doubt want to avoid. It’s unfortunate that they couldn’t land their guy, but it’s better to stay clear of any potential discipline.

Additionally, it’s not as though the Gators are doomed in this recruiting cycle. The planets were just aligned to make this situation seem far worse than it actually is. The optics of Rashada choosing Miami when Florida was seemingly a frontrunner until the moment the curtain fell on their efforts is admittedly atrocious. But, many of the Gators’ targets remain uncommitted and there are still irons in the fire with a multitude of talented players. We are just now hitting the thick of commitment season. If Florida is still running low on quality players and getting rug-pulled in six weeks, that will be a much different conversation.

The overwhelming noisiness of the Rashada drama also drowned out a trio of Gators successes in the past week. They flipped four-star edge rusher Isaiah Nixon from UCF and pulled in commitments from two other in-state four-star defensive talents. Those shouldn’t be the cornerstones of a top recruiting class, but they’re excellent foundational pieces of a winning program.

Billy Napier isn’t doomed. His staff’s recruiting efforts aren’t fruitless. Don’t let the screaming of take-driven outlets convince you otherwise. They’re still on track, they just need to convert on some of their other prospects  If they do, the outlook will seem much peachier.

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