Jackson, Rucker de-commit from Gators 2021 class

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Vanguard teammates Trevonte Rucker, Bryce Langston and Leonard Manuel with UF freshman defensive back Chris Steele (Courtesy of Manuel's Twitter account)

The hits keep coming on the recruiting trail for Florida and coach Dan Mullen.

Following the Thursday departure of Vanguard defensive lineman Bryce Langston, four-star wide receiver and fellow Vanguard standout Trevonte Rucker opted to back off his pledge to the Gators.

@TyMunnerlyn @LukeStampini @_Youngbull23 @chrismartin1974 @edwinfarmer1974 pic.twitter.com/wTFrM7BS4T— Trevonte Rucker (@TrevonteRucker) May 10, 2019

And it didn’t take long for the scholarship offers to start rolling in for Rucker, ranked the No. 40 overall prospect in the 2021 class.

Blessed to receive and offer from Louisiana State University 🐯🐯💯 @TyMunnerlyn @chrismartin1974 @tj_finley1 @LukeStampini @_Youngbull23 @edwinfarmer1974 pic.twitter.com/R0NdCjIgks— Trevonte Rucker (@TrevonteRucker) May 11, 2019

As if losing two highly ranked prospects from nearby Ocala within the span of 24 hours wasn’t enough, Melbourne athlete Dink Jackson soon followed Rucker and became the third prospect to de-commit from the Gators since the circumstances surrounding the departure of freshman defensive back Chris Steele broke on Gatorsports.com

I’ve decided to decommit from the University of Florida. My recruitment is open. No interviews please.— Dink9⚠️🏈🙏🏾 (@dink_jackson) May 10, 2019

Although more than 18 months remain before the class of 2021 puts pen to paper, the Gators arguably have lost much of their early momentum on the recruiting trail.

37 COMMENTS

  1. So this Steele (and Jalon Jones!) debacle is swiftly turning disastrous! The following comments assume CDM was not made aware of Steele’s request to change his living situation. He needs to promptly contact Steele and all recruits and let them know the personnel whom had knowledge of this request have been terminated (of course, this needs to be true). Then he needs to do everything he can to get these kids and their family’s to meet with him…sooner rather than later. If you are going to claim to be a “family”, sometimes you have to be a “dad”. If Mullen was aware, then it was a very MacElwainish blunder that should be dealt with accordingly. I truly hope that is not the case!

    • I suspect CDM has already done so, Austin — but as far as Steele/Jones 2019 influencing these guys in 2021, right now that may be a stretch. I mean, we’re looking at 2021, who knows what’s going thru the minds of 16 year old kids? Could be you’re correct on this cause and effect relationship, not sure tho.

  2. This is also a Meyerish failure in that he could have known about everything and done his best to keep the Jalon Jones situation from becoming public and to pressure Steele into staying with Jones and helping to minimize incidents created by Jones’ behavior. I’m waiting to see how things work out after this.

    • Honk on your way by! 35 is about done between here and Waco now, figure 45 minutes to downtown. There’s a Ninfa’s up there that has the best carnitas in Texas, I swear they’ll make your ears wiggle. Don’t know if the one in Austin is still open or not — used to be near Waterloo Records but haven’t been down there since Rick Perry was gov.

  3. If these young men aren’t sure where they want to play and grow now, well they have about 18 months to decide. No sense and worrying about anything concerning 2021 yet. We know that CDM will fill the roster and hopefully he won’t be bamboozled by recruits that are frontin. That means acting one way but ultimately hiding who they really are. We don’t need any more of those types here at the U of F. GO GATORS!!!

  4. Oh my! To be sure, we do not know all of the facts at this time. But allow me to offer a couple of alternative perspectives:
    1. We know that Chris Steele requested to be moved due to some issue(s) he had with Jones. Any way you shake it, he was denied. He subsequently, at no apparent fault of his own, gets his name dragged through the mud because of despicable actions alleged against Jones. I may be wrong, but all indications are that Chris is no “millennial snow flake”, he is, in fact, a good young man. I can say this, if I were his father, I would be looking for heads to fly!
    2. If I were Saban, Smart, Taggert, Strong, etc. I would be contacting all Florida commitments I was interested in recruiting and talking about how disrespected they will be if they sign with the Gators. “Just look at how they disrespected Chris Steele”!
    Perception is everything, and it currently stinks in Gainesville. And negative perception is much more difficult to reconcile than it is to create. In my opinion, time is of the essence!

    • How was steele disrespected? And do any of you know what was said by steele when he requested to be moved. Maybe his request was not honored immediately because he did not explain the situation but just asked to be moved. Kids now days think ppl should cater to them and do their bidding. Most are just spoiled rotten and don’t grow up until there 30s, if then.

  5. Longtime lurker, first time poster. This isn’t a huge deal. These kids aren’t even juniors yet. They shouldn’t be allowed to commit anywhere to begin with. Secondly is our 2020 class having a mass exodus? No, then we are fine. Yeah the Steele situation sucks but it’s not the end of the world. Let coaches do their job and let these kids be indecisive kids. Maybe these decommits are partially because of the Steele situation or maybe coincidence either way it’s not a big deal. I’m focused on 2020 and y’all should too. There’s a lot of football to be played between now and when they sign.

  6. I think the first priority is to make any organizational changes that may be necessary (as intimated above, I believe this falls on the adults involved, not the kids), and the second priority is to make an honest, humble attempt to bring back the lost flock (Steele and decommitted recruits). Once this has been accomplished, it will be time to address damage control, the approach depending on the results of the above, and this is when public statements are appropriate…and necessary. And as I mentioned above, time is of the essence.

  7. Steele isn’t coming back. He told Mullen to his face when Mullen flew to California to try to fix the situation, per Zach. No coach or admin should be in any trouble at all. It’s an unfortunate situation but it’s in the past everyone has hopefully learned and grown from it. I do agree about the kids that decommitted. I’m sure The coaches are working on that.

  8. Commits leaving is part of the party. Steele laying is disappointing but it happens. I was reading an article by Rivals that he is protected to USC or a PAC school. Which seems to be homesick more than anything. While the incident may have been a catalyst or something to blame leaving on he may not be able to handle the stress of being away from home. I’d ask questions of any class mates that aren’t in the football program how he was doing. Those that are committing and decommiting a year out while disappointing if not fully vested are young immature people still finding their way. We will have a squad that wants to be here and CDM will take us up the ladder. Go GATORS!

    • Again going to resist temptation and posit that this is much ado about nothing, because it is something. The questions are, (a) how much of a “something” is it, and (b) is there an actual discernible cause and effect relationship between events in the 2019 class and events in a class two full years away from being actually formed (2021), one which at present consists of 16 year olds lacking a fully developed frontal lobe to their brain and thus questionable judgement in the first place, with or without any reason needed?

      If we come to consensus on those questions, then we can begin to ask the two more important questions: (a) did we err greatly in hiring Dan Mullen and should accordingly fire him post haste, and (b) should we throw in the towel, admit we’re a bunch of losers who are never going to get a break anymore, and accordingly drop football as an intercollegiate sport on concentrate solely on tennis, golf, and track?

      Gentlemen, your answers will determine the future of this once great university!

      😆😆😁😁😎😎

  9. Who ever these kids commit to next, how certain can that university be that they won’t change their minds again? How solid will their dedication be when they publicly changed their collective minds to decommit? Seems like they are easily influenced and enjoy following the pack only to get attention. These guys fall far short of the character and loyalty we’ve seen in Tebow and the Pouncys and a plethora of other true Gators. I taught high school for 30 years, the average age being 16, and let me tell you, most 16-year old boys have peaked in their level of immaturity and cannot be counted on to follow through on a promise or a commitment, failing to show up to decorate for the dance or help build the homecoming float. Or be faithful to their steady girlfriend. They make me relieved to be retired. Mostly, I try not to pay attention to the decisions rising juniors make. It’s just too far out to believe their commitment to any school is solid and set in stone. What? Me worry? Nah

    • From what I’ve read over the past few years, it appears that “how many offers I have” is as important as anything. It’s a badge of honor. So, once committed, the offers stop rolling in. You get more love and attention as a free agent 🙂

      Another current thing that bugs me …. “building my brand”. The LAST thing in the world I was thinking too much about as a 16 year old was building my brand. I know I’m old… but social media and pop culture sucks!!!

  10. Amazing all the dramatic conspiracy theories and finger-pointing here.

    1) The coaches didn’t know about Jalon jones’ past. Jones, like many players everywhere, got by the process until our coaches found out.

    2) The coached DO NOT handle the housing situation, Campus Housing Dept does. Coaches might have a say in it, but when Chris Steele wanted to switch, it was the Housing Dept.’s job to handle it.

    3) So Jones is now gone, but here’s Steele back in California saying he was done wrong by the coaches, but this is clearly a big case of homesickness and a lot of mom in Steele’s ear to come home, The Jones situation was simply a convenient excuse to take advantage of.

    4) The 2021 players de-committing? Do you recall QB Anthony Richardson de-committed and then re-committed weeks later? We’ve had players commit and un-commit all the time, even transfer out or jump to the NFL early.

    Those 2021 players are also two years out. They “might” have de-committed because they want to take their recruiting visits or because what they heard from all the chaotic sports media conspiracies about Steele.

    But let it be well known and understood, those players have only gotten the sports media’s version of this story, and it’s not the gigantic “scandal” they are trying to make out of it.

    Good Lord people, players have left before, Coaches have miscalculated things or made honest mistakes, and it won’t be the first thing.

    • I said it on a previous post, but Steele’s dad was just tweeting praise for how the Gators are taking care of his son and how awesome Mullen is just a couple weeks ago. April 14th to be exact. For a family who’s supposedly angry with the coaches for not moving their son immediately, it seems very odd for him to be doing that. The request to move came long before that tweet. I don’t know how anyone can see that and still believe this transfer has anything to do with that. They’ve got their excuse to hand to the NCAA for an immediate waiver and now they’ve got their son much closer to home. It’s just too bad Mullen’s reputation had to take a beating because of it.