The last few weeks of the offseason for Florida Gators football have been rough on coach Dan Mullen and the image of the program. And, the latest example involves a prize defensive back, who just got to Gainesville and now, already wants to transfer.
The Gainesville Sun reported Thursday afternoon that the top player from Florida’s 2019 recruiting class, California defensive back Chris Steele, has entered the transfer portal wanting to leave the Gators program:
BREAKING: Details on Chris Steele’s decision to transfer from Floridahttps://t.co/IhYEKTmrLD
— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) May 9, 2019
Steele just came to campus in January, as an early enrollee participating in Spring drills, as well as, the Gators Spring game last month. It was believed that he was going to be a day-one starter come this fall on Florida’s defense.
However, things soured very quickly for Steele, and it’s related to another prominent Florida recruit, who just got to campus in January, also.
As we wrote late last month, fellow incoming freshman quarterback Jalon Jones from Virginia had also entered the transfer portal after just getting on campus in January. Jones was accused by two different females of sexual battery on the same night in the dorm room that he shared with Steele and a third teammate Jaydon Hill.
The two women ended up not pressing charges after Gainesville police investigated their claims. Still Jones has decided to depart the program.
Back to Steele, as the Sun reported, he apparently went to the coaching staff soon after arriving in January asking for a new roommate. And, then he and his parents later complained directly to Mullen about wanting to switch roommates, reportedly because of the problems with Jalon Jones. Steele was allegedly told that the switch could happen later this summer.
It’s widely believed that Steele, the 42nd recruit in the country according to ESPN.com, is looking to return to California. That’s where, he was a star at Los Angeles’ St. John Bosco High School and had offers from numerous Western schools including USC to play for them.
A third “eyebrow raising situation” came last week when the Gators failed to secure the 2020 college commitment of Lakeland High School star, Demarkcus Bowman. Bowman, who is regarded as the second rated running back in the nation after rushing for 2,466 yards and 36 touchdowns in his junior season, chose the Clemson Tigers instead of the Gators.
This has to rankle the fan base and in particular, the large donors to the Florida program, as Lakeland High School has essentially been a pipeline of great players to Gainesville. And, the fact that such a potential impactful running back would choose someone other than Florida to run the football for, has to be a concern.
The Gators had no comment Thursday on the latest transfer controversy with Steele.
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