3 from 2019 recruiting class look to clear up issues before enrolling at Florida

(Brad McClenny/Staff Photographer)

Florida’s 2019 recruiting class, which was ranked No. 9 in the nation back in February, continues to shrink, and could grow even smaller.

The latest to fall out of the original class of 25 is four-star Lakeland offensive lineman Deyavie Hammond, who announced on Twitter on Saturday that he did not qualify academically and will be attending a junior college for the next two years.

He joins three other earlier departures from the class — four-star cornerback Chris Steele, four-star quarterback Jalon Jones and four-star linebacker Diwun Black.

Steele (Southern Cal) and Jones (Jackson State) have transferred, while Black, like Hammond, failed to qualify academically and is enrolled at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

The class could grow even smaller, with three others facing issues that have not allowed them to enroll in the Summer B semester yet, which started July 1.

Four-star wide receiver Arjei Henderson and three-star wide receiver Dionte Marks have academic deficiencies that need to be resolved before they can enroll, while four-star offensive lineman Wardrick Wilson, who is from the Bahamas, has had problems obtaining a visa that would allow him to come to UF.

There’s still a chance that Henderson, Marks and Wilson could enroll for the fall semester and be eligible this season.


  1. missing out on grades is disappointing. I would think that some of these HS should be helping these guys not with free passes but with their learning. Actually think it should be for all students. Losing Steele (homesick) and JJ (stupidity) are natural and to me acceptable attrition. Losing people to academics (making some assumptions here and there are a lot on both sides students and teachers) is tough. I am guessing with UF’s required GPA that our recruiters are looking into this before offering. I know this has been discussed as some of the recruits have mentioned their GPA on receiving and offer. I am going to go out on a limb and bet a few that de-commit before signing know they will not make the academic requirement. Another (Gator) site made it look like one of the recruits de-committed to go to Juco when he stated himself he didn’t make it academically. I hope the two Juco guys come back to us when/if their grades are up. The homesick one? I have a tougher time with that one. Still remember hearing people crying when I joined the Army those first months away from home. As for JJ since there is only an accusation and no conviction I hope he has no more instances and fixes his path.

      • Yarg, we do I think that schools graduating youth and I believe aware these youth have been accepted conditionally to programs should be working with them to make sure they are meeting the requirements they need to continue. Of course the student needs to be working to get where they want to go. I am not saying by any means to lower a standard. I would think there should be some kind of mechanism in place to let s student know where they stand and to let universities know where those youth are in development. Maybe this exists I don’t know.

    • 65, I agree this is very disappointing, but in my opinion somewhat unavoidable given today’s early commitment and signing practices.

      HS prospects that wait until December, or later to commit can be either flaky (Steele and Jones,) or have academic deficiencies (Black, Hammond and maybe others.) A program (such as UF’s last season) that has to wait until December, January and February to fill out its recruiting classes, runs right into the risk of having some of those late commits flake out, or fail to meet NCAA academic standards. Note that Hammond and Black didn’t transfer to another NCAA program with lower academic (GPA) requirements than UF. They went the JC/CC route because NO school in the NCAA can accept them academically according to NCAA rules.

      The 2019 problem was that CDM has NEVER been a flashy recruiter, the way Saban, Orgeron and Smart are. Folks should recall that was the rap Foley tagged him with when he left UF for MSU in 2009. So, the Gators’ path to top 5 recruiting classes every year will be through the more difficult route of a winning tradition CDM has brought back to the program and his staff’s well deserved reputation for developing NFL ready players. That will take time and a track record at UF that he didn’t have at the start of last season.

      The Gators are in much better shape with their 2020 recruiting class already at #9 on 247 and 17 strong. They need to work their way into the top 5 with 22+ solid commits by end of November because all those early commits will be well scouted and academically vetted. Their long-term commitments BEFORE signing their LOIs will also mean they’re much less likely to flake out after they sign, the way Steele and Jones did. I have no doubt CDM will get them there.

      GO GATORS!!!

      • STL, I am with you. Just seems it happened more to us but then again I don’t read the other teams stuff that often. I think your are very right in how we are building the team vs Saban, Smart etc. They use a lot of flash CDM seems like a straight shooter. I am 100% with the way we are doing things and feel if we have top 10 recruiting classes we will be in the top 5 ranked during the season on a reular basis and if we are top 5 in recruiting we will be in the hunt for the play-offs year in and year out.
        GO GATORS!!!🐊

  2. Question: If we backfill these “vacancies” with transfers via the transfer portal, would they count against the 25 max scholarships each year? If transfers only count towards the 90 scholarships max but not the 25/year, then it’s not a big problem because we can refill the roster. But if transfers count towards both the 25 max each year and the 90 total, then we will be short of the 90 for the next few years. That’s like having an NCAA scholarship sanction.

    • Any transfers that get cleared by the NCAA to play for UF this season will count only against the 85 total scholarship limit IF they’re NOT true freshmen. True freshmen transfers will count against BOTH the 85 total and 2019 25 annual limit.

      I don’t believe the 25 annual limit will be any kind of problem since the Gators were well below that total, even before they started losing signees.

      • Thanks StL. In that case, we’ll just need to sign 25 each year and backfill with transfers or JC to bring the roster up to 85. No big deal. The only negative is losing what the 2019 class could have contributed this year, which typically is minimal for true freshmen.

        • It won’t be easy replacing that many players with “equally qualified” transfers before the start of this season. Keep in mind that all other major programs are pursuing those same talented transfers. So, the 2019 Gator class will be smaller than typical.

          The good news is that those 2019 openings may be filled with early graduating 2020 prospects and they’ll count against the 2019 25 limit. That means when adding the up to 25 that may be signed in the 2020 class, CDM may sign 27 or 28 total next year, which will surely place that class in the top 4 or 5.

  3. Part of the problem might be that when hs seniors get their so-called “final” gpa around March, they don’t realize that is merely graduation ranking, which is not etched in stone, but they think it is and shut down their academic efforts. Thus, enough of a drop in gpa to veer them into a JUCO situation.