Check that: Chris Steele now officially joins Southern California’s team

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LOS ANGELES  — Cornerback Chris Steele and receiver Bru McCoy have officially joined Southern California’s football program, apparently wrapping up two recruiting sagas back where they began.

USC coach Clay Helton on Tuesday confirmed the arrivals of local products McCoy and Steele, two of the nation’s top prospects at their positions.

McCoy signed with USC and enrolled in January before abruptly transferring to Texas. He played spring ball with the Longhorns, but struggled with homesickness and decided in recent weeks to return to the Trojans.

Steele committed to USC last year, but signed with Florida. After enrolling in Gainesville for a semester, he left the program and committed to Oregon, but ultimately decided to join the Trojans after all.

72 COMMENTS

    • Maybe they got P A I D to go back home…LOL. People out there pay to get their kids into college so why not pay to keep their better players at home? You never know how corrupt people can be until they get caught. I am not saying that they did get paid, but just stating a humorous possibility. GO GATORS!!!

  1. Anybody who didn’t know this was going to happen probably thinks Vanderbilt will win the National Championship. Goodbye. Don’t let the door hit you in the rear end as you go. To be fair, he should never have gotten so far away from those who will pamper him and tell him how great he is. He obviously needs that attention.

  2. If Steele is happy, good for him. Fair chance that Steele might be the last top 50 player nationally we’ll sign for quite a while. Better chance that we will sign no top 20 florida recruits this year than the 2 players that are committed right now. Be prepared. UGA/OSU/Clemson/BAMA will own UF on any recruit that is willing to leave the state.

    We are probably a diamond in the rough recruiting school now. Good thing that Mullen can coach because he isn’t going to sign a 5 star type down the line. We are getting pwned.

  3. Coaching, mentoring and building camaraderie among the entire program far outweigh the number of subjective stars assigned to a high school football player. Mullen and his staff will do fine recruiting the state. Even though it is baseball, look how the Tampa Bay Rays collect and manage their talent.

    As for Steele, if he had remained at UF, he would have been an emotional and probably behavior problem, especially if he didn’t start or play in the Miami game, which would make him difficult to coach. If these weren’t issues, then he would have stayed committed to Oregon.

  4. Most of the guys who have performed amazingly at UF were very highly recruited players. Let’s think of some of the legends. Wuerffel, Tebow, Smith. They were all top 50 types. Florida has not won a National title in its history without a top 50 player at qb. Recruiting matters. Almost every BAMA, CLEMSON or OSU player that has been drafted in the first round in the last 10 years was a top 100 player nationally coming out of high school. Every 5* player doesn’t become a first round pick but a much much much higher percentage of them do than 4* or much 3*. Teams don’t win national titles without 5* players. That’s a fact.

    • You just don’t get that we sucked not 2 years ago do you…and before that were a mediocre program for most of the decade. You can keep on with that narrative all you want without any historical perspective, but no coach at any of those programs, except Meyer at OSU jumped in setting the world on fire.

      • Well, I am not choosing sides here on recruiting, here’s some ”historical perspective” from some media quotes on UGA and UF, ”I’m proud of the fact I have more wins over Georgia than any other coach in history.” Said U.F. Coach Steve Spurrier was who 11-1 against the Georgia Bulldogs as Florida’s H.B.C. And while, Coach Steve Spurrier inherited a talented group in ’90, no doubt, he did ”set the SEC world on fire.” Point of fact, ”Spurrier hates UGA, and he goes out of his way to take media shots and digs at UGA. He went lights out in Athens in Georgia-Florida (home and home) to hang half a hundred (that’s ”FITTY” or 50) on UGA just because.” And b.t.w., that’s STILL Georgia’s worst HOME LOSS ever at Sanford Stadium. CHOMP-CHOMP! So while it’s a new era, a new day (and I can dig it, Coach Mullen), I was there and I EXPERIENCED THAT AMAZING VICTORIOUS FEELING over UGA and most of the SEC, and nobody can take that from my Orange & Blue reptilian heart or my memory bank! Now there’s some ”historical prospective” on a Coach ”who did set the world on fire,” once upon a time.
        Go Gators!

        • Very fond memories GI. Another quote from Ray Goff…”ask other coached their records against Spurrier,” LOL. People forget he was also 11-1 vs LSU. I personally think Spurrier is top 5 coach of all time….so those guys don’t come around often. Even he said he liked going to schools with no history of winning….a subtle diss at Saban who went Bama, one of college football’s storied programs. Because of my pops, I was a die hard Gator fan growing up and I was there around the same time you were…Spurrier took a good team, made some tweaks (Shane Matthews and Tre Everett for instance who both were not sniffing action) and the butt kicking of UGA started right away. I hate UGA more than any school. I move to Atlanta in 94 and we were destroying them every year….it was the best. It was awesome..for as you know, it was the reverse in the 70’s & 80s. We had devastating losses to the Dawgs, like 1980 (Belue to Scott), 1982 (44-0), 1983 (10-9…Lastinger score late), 1985 (ranked #1 for the first time ever, but only a week). That’s more historical perspective….our program had good years here and there, but Spurrier made us into a top tier program. Those guys don’t come around often and even SOS didn’t come into a program in the shape it is now (after a 4-8 season). My whole thing with David Smith is after 1 year, he is hyper critical and comparing us to the top programs currently. Coach Mullen is on the right track so let’s be realistic on what we have to overcome.

    • I agree with your comments to a point. Mullen has a top 10 recruiting class lined up for 2019. Kids de-commit and commit; it is the nature of recruiting in college football today.

      The truth is that you do need 5* players to win national championships. However, it has to be the right 5* players and they have to be in the right positions, surrounded by 3* & 4* players. Most importantly they have to be well-coached. It’s not really coincidence that 5* players go to the best programs and the best programs have the best coaches. Dabo, Saban, Meyer, Smart are all good coaches whose programs have had success over an extended time, so of course they will attract 5* talent. However, FSU had tons of 5* talent and were hanging around 4-5 losses a year and tanked last year. LSU has 5* talent and can’t get out of the West. The formula is Program+Coach+Recruits=National Contender. You can’t be consistent with only one part of the equation. A coach can’t coddle a kid who is homesick, just because he has 5 stars next to his name.

      Also the UF football program is not elite. I’m not talking about last season or even this season, I’m talking about the program as a whole. It doesn’t matter whose fault it might be but we are in the situation. Our facilities are lacking and before last year, we averaged over 5+ losses a year over the past ten years. Our last 2 coaches gave UF the reputation of poor offenses and gave UF 2 losing seasons. Even Galen Hall managed to avoid a losing season with scholarship losses and probation in the late 80’s. He even played a much harder schedule. UF ignored the football program for too long and we are way behind. Mullen had a great year but kids want to see sustained success and they fall in love with great facilities.

      For all those reasons, it is hard to convince a kid to turn down Alabama, Clemson or even Georgia to go to UF. You have to take off your orange and blue glasses and really think about it.

      Alabama – Last 5 Years
      Record: 67-6
      Conf Championships: 4
      Conf Championship Games: 4
      Playoffs: 5
      National Titles: 2
      Losing Seasons: 0

      Clemson – Last 5 Years
      Record: 65-7
      Conf Championships: 4
      Conf Championship Games: 4
      Playoffs: 4
      National Titles: 2
      Losing Seasons: 0

      UGA – Last 5 Years
      Record: 52-14
      Conf Championships: 1
      Conf Championship Games: 2
      Playoffs: 1
      National Titles: 0
      Losing Seasons: 0

      Team 4 – Last 5 Years
      Record: 40-23
      Conf Championships: 0
      Conf Championship Games: 2
      Playoffs: 0
      National Titles: 0
      Losing Seasons: 1

      Which of these teams doesn’t belong? So any 5*recruit is a long-shot until we put together consistent results on the field. If you were being honest, would you tell your son to go to the Gators after one season of success, if their goal was to be in the playoffs and win championships? Mullen can get us there, but he needs some time to overcome the last 10 years and improve our profile.

        • Totally agree. I think were all saying the same thing. It is a combination of recruiting, coaching and quality program. There are many different ways to be a contender. I think Mullen will be just fine. He can obviously coach and his recruiting will continue to get better. Strickland understands football is important and will upgrade the program. Honestly, I think the first coaches who figure out how to recruit the transfer portal will elevate their programs quickly.

          • OG77 I think you are right on the portal. The rest is a vicious circle that can be entered and played successfully from any point just doing so is the challenge where many coaches fail. The chicken before the egg, cart before the horse line. CDM is building this the right way as long as there are no institutional problems this is the right trajectory to return to prominence, DOMINANCE!
            There will be some recruits that come to play for a coach and a team that are winning and doing things the right way. I want that to be us.
            I was listening to ESPN on satellite on the way in this am and they were talking about players being offered $ to come to a school. When that grenade goes off I hope we are not in the 5 meter circle.

      • That is all true, except:
        UGA started recruiting lights out without playing in the SEC title game under a first year head coach who just had a 5 loss season. 3 straight years of losing to UF. Kirby signed 6 top 50 players

        Saban, yes I know it’s Saban, recruited lights out his first year.

        Dabo had to earn it. He has a worse recruiting base than either of those 2 schools(bama/uga) and Clemson had been irrelevant since the early 80s. Not sure Clemson’s facilities are that much better than UFs either. But even Dabo was able to convince 2 five star recruits from Florida to go to Clemson with a 19-15 record(his first 3 years) and having just coming off a 7 loss season. He recruited 3 five stars to a losing program. He didn’t have to win or prove himself to recruit 5 stars.

        PSU is recruiting Florida as well as Florida or better at this point. PSU has lost at least 2 games each year Franklin has been there. Pretty sure PSU doesn’t have better facilities than UF. Essentially one PSU coach is recruiting better than the whole UF staff when it come to Florida.

        I agree that you have to be a holy-roller to send your kid to play at UF right now. But then Miami and FSU are recruiting this year at least as well(better in U’s case) as UF and their programs are in much worse shape than UF and their facilities aren’t even comparable.

        • UGA was not in dire straits…they just were hitting a wall with Richt and felt it was time to move on. Smart was probably their (Bama’s) best recruiter so excitement was there. Living in Atlanta for about 14 years…trust me, Georgia kids want to go to UGA. It’s not a hard sell and with a dynamic recruiter, I knew he would be a probelm to contend with. He reminds me of SOS coming back to his alma mater. Our success in the Cocktail Party switch 180 the minute he arrived. Our Gators at the same point after Meyer, hired Muschamp who tried to be Bama Jr. Clemson has excellent Facilities actually…and to your point, where we are hurting in comparison to other schools. Their base is actually not bad geographically as they are pretty much on the Georgia border….and can dip in to fertile recruiting ears close by. DeShaun Watson for instance…Gainesville GA is probably an hours away…Gwinett County, probably the best region is on the Northeast Suburban side of Atlanta and maybe 1.5 hours from the South Cack Border. Their Florida success is troubling but not new starting with CJ Spiller…and most of the guys from here that go there seem to have success. FSU…kids just like the Noles…and growing up in Florida, you know that most guys that don’t go to school and root are FSU and UM fans, with us being 3rd. I agree, we have to lock down the state better, but there are some hurdles that need to be jumped…but not in 1 year. That is unrealistic with the hand we were dealt. Year 1 was a positive step though, which you have stated.

        • I’m not sure what to tell you. If you think that Mullen and UF should be the favorite for all 5* talent in the state after looking at the history of those schools while these kids were in high school, then I guess Mullen isn’t your guy. That’s fine. We can just agree to disagree. I’m not saying Mullen shouldn’t be getting those guys eventually, but for now he is the underdog and a decision by a 5* recruit to go elsewhere isn’t really that shocking.

        • You clearly don’t know how recruiting works if you’re trying to compare the situation Smart took over to the one UF took over. They lost 5 games his first season coaching, which most recruits kind’ve expect for a first time head coach. Before that UGA had back to back 10 win seasons and were hardly the dumpster fire the Gators were when Mullen took over. That’s besides the fact that the most important aspect of recruiting is building relationships with players. Smart built relationships with basically every top recruit in the nation for 9 years straight while at Bama. Mullen wasn’t exactly able to build relationships with the best of the best while at MSU, cause none of them really wanted to go there. Just to clarify regarding Clemson’s facilties. 247 just ranked the top facilities in college football and Clemson was #1. They’re facilities are by far better than UF’s. Mullen may not be the greatest recruiter, but he’s not terrible. We’re sitting with the #7 class in the country right now and we’ve already seen his ability to close strong. He’s already pulling in higher ranked classes than Dabo did until he won his first championship. You do realize PSU is sitting at #21 right now right? Relax with the recruiting world is falling and everyone’s killing us. It’s just not the case.

      • This is all I am saying. D Smith is very knowledgeable and attended UF around the time I was there. I was there with the transition from Galen Hall to Spurrier. Spurrier had to win before that classic 92 class. He just seems to not adequately factor in the reality of our program…and the current state of affairs of other programs. It’s Dan Mullen’s first year after a 4-8 campaign…and some would say he was the consolation prize at that. 2-3 more years down the line then let’s evaluate, but we were a broken program in many areas.

    • “Teams don’t win national titles without 5* players. That’s a fact.”

      Except for the 1997 Sugar Bowl, when Danny Wuerffel, who didn’t even sniff the national top fifty recruits, opened up a thirty-two point can of whoop a$$ on your favorite team there Mikey, uh, I mean David.

      THAT’S a fact. Put that in your peace pipe and smoke it, Nole Troll.

      • Totally incorrect. Just so you know Wuerffel was a top 2 qb(by all services) in florida having come off a undefeated season and leading his team to a state with pinball stats. He was one of the jewels of UF’s recruiting class along with the likes of Reggie Green and Dexter Daniels. Also Fred Taylor was 5*. Zac Zedalis was a 5*. Buck Gurley was a 5*. Tim Beauchamp was a 5*. Ernie Badeaux was a 5*.

        The 1995 team had even more 5*. Because #1 OT from high school Reggie Green was on the team along with USA Today High School Defensive player of the year Dexter Daniels.

        Danny Wuerffel Wikipedia : “Wuerffel was widely considered the top high school football recruit in the state of Florida, and USA Today’s high school player of the year in Florida during his senior year.” LOL-That sounds like a pretty bad recruit to me.

        His recruiting class(1992) at UF was ranked #1 in the country.

        If you were a UF alumni, especially from that era, you would know that. Ever see the football players get their haircut at the Reitz Union? Ever party with football/basketball players at BALLS? Ever party with the football players like Kirkpatrick, Hesham Ismail or even E Smith(after he turned 21 LOL) at Gator Bumpers? Your head would spin if you knew better.

        • You know, David, I’ve basically been on your side even tho I’ve taken you to task a couple of times regarding what I read as being over-pessimistic, and I was following you right up to now. Forget that, pal…..you just revealed yourself to be a pompous ass of the first order. Out of nothing but curiosity and nothing else, I assure you, where did you obtain the alleged credentials to make such an outrageous pronouncement such as that? Recommend you check yourself, pardner — you’re on the verge of out-running your own headlights let alone arrogant ego.

          • 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
            I swear, Al……sometimes I think you and Jaws are the same person. I mean, nobody has ever seen you two out in public together, have they?

  5. I get it. College football is not a sport of parity. Bluebloods and classic powers rule the sport.

    Since the BCS era began in 1998, only 12 teams have won a national championship. Florida has two of them.

    If you want a 50-year scope, from 1968 to now, you’d add only nine more champions, and UF then has three national titles.

    Florida is among those so-called bluebloods, but it took the right coach to bring us to that stature. Once again we have the right coach, so to think that the Gators will NEVER land a five star or compete for championships again is pure pessimism, especially with CDM having only one season under his belt.

  6. The story of these two guys tells why it is so important to recruit your home state first. I bet if you asked them truthfully why they switched after training and playing in Spring, it would be homesickness and not the program. If we could get just the top players in our state we would be a force to be reckoned with every year. For an 18-19 year old, staying close to family is a big thing.

    • It seems like competing for championships now is a bigger priority to top recruits than staying close to family. The big 3 Florida schools are all missing out on the top recruits to out of state schools. It also seems like a lot of recruits are picking schools based on the popular pick more so than the best fit. The portal is allowing that trend to continue and Georgia is feeding off that momentum right now. Going to be interesting to see how long that will last for them if they keep losing big games.

      • Joe…you know this from previous posts…it’s a different time from the 90s where most kids stayed home…and we just haven’t been the big time program we once were. There are more D1 options than ever before in state, and the success of Clemson and others have hurt our state. Besides SOWs run with Winston, not much coming out of our state in terms of playoff level football….for a decade or so. Correcting this will not be overnight. I personally don’t see a huge problem with national recruiting a few guys, while keeping the emphasis locally…so I think some are making Steele a trend just because it didn’t work out. My only deal was Mullen being beat up for this kid’s now proven indecisiveness.

  7. Well I”ll be. Oregon was too far from home as well…

    Also read his words where him mother lost her job, and that the travel for a working class family to Gainesville was too much. No issue with that WHAT SO EVER…just say it youngin, and stop it with the whole scandal of not switching rooms because you had a knucklehead roommate. Some of our fans went off the deep end because the next term wasn’t fast enough.

    If this juggling act of 3 schools doesn’t vindicate Mullen and Co. from the “he doesn’t care about his kids” narrative..I don’t know what will.

  8. It seems to me that some of us Gator fans are willing to defend players we like, even in the face of criminal charges, by saying “they’re just kids”, even though some may be juniors or seniors and 21-23 years old. Yet, we expect Chris Steele, even before he’d graduated high school, to have the judgement of Mike Gundy (You know, “I’m a man! I’m 40!”).

    If that’s not enough, some are questioning his toughness by saying he doesn’t have the grit to play in the SEC. Well, let me see; he was second on the depth chart at DB at an SEC school that calls itself “DBU” at a time that he should’ve still been in high school. That seems gritty enough to play in the SEC to me. If not, CDM should re-examine all the Gator back-ups.

    I do think it’s best for both UF and Steele that he transferred, and I agree with those who say it was primarily, if not entirely, a matter of him being homesick. But, it’s not a good look for grown men to make themselves look petty by being overly critical of a high school kid for not having the judgement of a 40 year-old.

      • Well David, by your logic, anyone under college age isn’t a Gator fan, they’re simply a wanna be. And boosters that donate money to UF and help the program a lot more than you did by playing around with some players, they might just be a wanna be too. Guess when you got left in charge, you get to decide who or who isn’t fit to be a Gator. SMH!!

      • Concur Sparky — one thing is obvious, that while David might well be “grown” chronologically, he never made it past 6th grade in the emotional department. And there I thought we had just gotten ahead of all that type of arrogance around here — well, just goes to show you that there’s one in every crowd. I’m certain now that he wouldn’t make a good pimple on a real Gator’s butt…….if that’s what he learned at UF, he’s got a long way to go.

        • Indeed, David is a name dropper who isn’t naming names. He sounds more like the fly on the wall. If you attended UF, you likely ran into athletes from the many sports programs on campus. I used to walk to a class behind Tim Newton and Eugene McDowell, which saved on sunscreen since they blocked out the sun. Wilbur Marshall used to like hanging out at the Hub, where I worked in the back stocking the Campus Shop & Bookstore. Said hey to him every day for a semester. Kerwin Bell dated a friend I grew up with in Gainesville and went to school and church with as teens. I struck out Dwayne Dixon four times (couldn’t touch my curveball) in a baseball game playing at his Santa Fe HS in Alachua (14 K’s in 7 innings, btw) and I had classes with a few others. I guy I used to work with knew all the players because he made extra $ serving the football team supper in the team cafeteria. David doesn’t seem to understand what it is to be a true Gator fan, or he is filled too much with negativity and pessimism. We were all enamored, in a humorous sort of way, with the 0-10-1 team and had high hopes with “Give’m Hell Pell” arrived on campus from where? You guessed it. Clemson. He pissed off quite a few fans going to the orange jerseys for home games because we looked too much like his old Tigers. You are right, 6, there’s one in every crowd and David is It.

          • I went to school with John Matuzac down at the University of Tampa, who almost ran me over with his new Pontiac Gran Prix on campus one day — following which I (humorously) threatened to kick his ass and following that at which time he was laughing so hard that he almost wet his pants and actually apologized. Also Freddie Solomon, who was truly a great guy, and “Mr Wonderful”, Paul Orndorff, who was not such a great guy but actually spoke to me once. We were using the urinals next to one another at the student union one day, says I, “Oh, Hi Paul”…….and says he, “How’s it hangin’?”.

            Other than that, my next most memorable celebrity encounter was stepping in a cow pie while deer hunting next to George Straight’s ranch down in Frio County, Texas, years later. George wasn’t there to see it, mind you — but I felt his karma since his fenceline was about 10 feet away.

      • david, I wasn’t referring to anyone in particular, just an underlying tone from some fans that I suspect are 40+. I think we have a double standard based on our appreciation of specific players that we deem either to be loyal Gators or disgruntled wannabes . We’re willing to excuse the misdeeds of those we deem loyal Gators, while we’re ready to crucify the disgruntled wannabes over lesser offenses.

        I’m not trying to censor anyone’s comments, and I enjoy reading them all, whether I agree or not. We should all feel free to express our opinions and our agreement or disagreement with any posted comments. However, I do think that we mature adults shouldn’t let hurt feelings over our Gators being spurned by an indecisive 18 year-old cause us to be irrationally critical of the young man.

    • I can agree with that Joe…me personally, I never came at the guy on personal attacks. My only point is I think he reconsidered the distance away from home and that seems to be the main issue. I was sticking up for Mullen and the knee jerk reactions that they were so negligent. Many of the same fans were making the issue larger than it was. It was as if roommate issues never existed….and trying to work it out as a first option was ridiculous.

      • Smith, you’ve always been fair in your comments. I think you and the others who maintained that Steele was simply homesick and was using the JJ issue as an excuse to leave have been proven right. I wasn’t so sure of that at first, but I think it’s pretty clear now. I never thought CDM mishandled the situation, and I understand your defending him. It’s just an unfortunate event that cost the Gators a 5* player who could’ve been very good.

    • Well said! Expecting an 18 year old to “act like an adult” and then criticizing/attacking him like he’s this horrible person and our enemy when he really did nothing wrong makes me ashamed to be a Gator sometimes and makes no sense to be honest!

  9. Wow. A lot of comment here about everything that’s wrong with Florida football and recruiting. And I thought this was about homesick Steele going back home via the transfer portal to play at USC this fall–and be back in his comfort zone. Oh well. I learned a lot from these posts, but I don’t agree with all the psychologists and analysts, but many of them are thought provoking. PS: Been a Gator since the Ray Graves era when I was a kid in Clearwater.