Four-star DB Jaden Davis discusses Gators Grill-Out, his recruitment and Saturday’s drama

St. Thomas Aquinas DB Jaden Davis poses in a Florida uniform while at the Gators Grill-Out [Photo courtesy of Davis' Twitter]

St. Thomas Aquinas safety Jaden Davis got more than he bargained for Saturday.

While attending the Gator Grill-Out, Florida coach Dan Mullen’s invite-only recruiting event, Davis and his South Florida Express teammates were seen on Instagram live throwing up “The U”, the hand sign for the University of Miami (Fl.). A harmless joke, one that came on a dare from Hurricanes wide receiver Mike Harley Jr., but it soon made the rounds on social media.

Before Davis knew it, current Gators such as Kadarius Toney and Iverson Clement were calling on Florida to punish the four-star prospect by pulling his scholarship offer.

“That was a dare from Mike. It wasn’t anything serious, I didn’t mean anything by it. No disrespect by it,” Davis said. “I wouldn’t be up here if I wasn’t interested in the school. Obviously.”

It was some unnecessary drama at an event intended to be light-hearted and devoid of any issues. Those that know Davis, however, understand he didn’t seek to embarrass Florida, himself or his teammates.

After the issue had subsided, Davis said the grill-out left a strong impression on him, and a big reason was the focus on personal relationships and putting a different spin on a recruitment event.

“I like the fact that we were able to come up to a barbecue and just talk. We were able to talk just man to man. Just talk about stuff other than football,” Davis said. “Relationships, family, stuff like that. That was another great thing for this visit.”

With just two months until Davis plans on pledging his talents to a program, one would think his destination has started coming into focus.

Not so, said Davis. After a busy spring, one that saw him pick up offers from the likes of Georgia and Clemson while taking official visits to Penn State and Oklahoma.

“It really hasn’t cleared it up. It actually made it a lot more hectic,” Davis said. “Coaches who haven’t been hitting me up have been this spring. South Carolina, Louisville, they didn’t have the opportunity to talk to me during the season and stuff, so they’re really starting to get on me right now. It’s got a lot more exciting.”

When it comes to UF, wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales and defensive backs coach Charlton Warren have been in contact with Davis the most.

“They’ve been hitting me up once a week, just talking about non-football stuff,” Davis said. “They’re not putting pressure on me. Just letting me enjoy the process. Florida has always been one of my high options, and I’m really thinking about them.”

Yet Davis didn’t mince words when asked about which school provides the best developmental opportunity.

“Football-wise, for me, it’s Florida. You commit to a school, not to the coaches or anything,” Davis said. “I felt great about the school before coach Mullen and all of them came along.”

Considering more programs are coming into the picture, however, Davis said he may have to reassess his recruitment and commitment deadline to ensure he makes the best decision possible.

“July 18, but I don’t know. I may have to push it back,” Davis said. “That’s my birthday, so I just wanted to get everything over with by my birthday and being able to focus on the high school senior season and winning a state championship. But with everything that’s came about right now, I just don’t know. With the recent spring it’s starting to open up. Right now I’m just wide open.”


  1. It may haver been a harmless prank, but he should of thought about where he was. Gainesville is the home of the “Drama Queens”, not the Gators. The fans. players, nd coaches get their panties in a wad over the slightest little thing. Davis should have known that. It’s the culture in Gainesville to be a “Drama Queen” and it doesn’t take long to become one. For example, Gaor fans even got a guy who hadn’t even made it to campus, Emory Jones, to become emeshed in the culture when they whined about his playing time in an All-Star game and Jones was foolish enough to go along. I feel confident that Mullen will fit right in. I’m just waiting for the event that makes him a full-pledged Drama Queen. Toney and Clement have a lot of nerve to open their mouth since they have done nothing, or next to nothing, since their arrival in Gainesville, on a football field.

  2. He made a very foolish or stupid action on a dare. He would have to explain how he has grown from the experience, children are always taught about dares early in their lives. What might he do that is worse if someone dared him to do so. I also wonder if he would do the chomp at UM’s events, I bet not. If he does not want to be a Gator well you know the rest.

    • “No disrespect meant by it”. Lacking a fully consolidated frontal lobe, of course, a typical 17 year old would not recognize the disrespect embedded in such actions. If he decides he want to play football at UF and if he’s good enough, fine. If he does not want to play for UF, fine too.

  3. What these guys did is not a big deal. And they manned up about it, which tells me they are seriously looking at us, otherwise they would not have cared and instead maybe criticized the people who reacted to it. If it is ok with the coaches, who were there with them and looking them in the eye, ok with me. At the end of the day, an asterisk at best.