The Florida Gators landed a massive addition to their 2023 recruiting class on Friday morning when Top-20 quarterback Pittsburg, CA Jaden Rashada reversed his commitment from Miami to UF. Rashada is now the top-rated prospect in the Gators class and a name in the 5-star lineup conversation on 247Sports’ standalone rankings. The move sent shockwaves through the recruiting world, with the Gators making this big shift to one of college football’s most important positions.
Brandon Huffman, National Recruiting Editor of 247Sports, has covered Rashada and his recruiting since he was an underclassman. He knows the ins and outs of his game and loves not only Rashada’s talent but also the lineage of his family’s name in football.
“Physically, he’s got more arm talent, he’s got a great frame, a great body, a great arm, and he’s only going to get stronger and stronger. He has a brother who starts out in the SEC as a defensive back and a dad who was on a Rose Bowling team at Arizona State Great bloodlines and again he’s going to get bigger and physically stronger in college which should be pretty exciting if you’re a fan from Florida given how strong his arms are and how light he is right now in the frame, but that shouldn’t be a problem in the long run. college, and the zip he has on the ball, it’s only going to get better. You look at him from a micro level to a macro level, he’s got talent as a player that he brings. You look at the physical tools he has. It’s the mic and I think his best ball will be played in college and someone you can play with. You can build a class no matter how late it is. From a macro perspective, to defeat an enemy in the state you suffered an early defeat against. This shows better recruiting will outweigh good recruiting all the time. If you’re a Florida fan, this gets you a little excited about what Billy Napier can do. He didn’t just accept that loss and move on. He said, no, damn it, we’re getting this kid, and we’re going to integrate him and find a way to best use him. To beat Miami for it, Jaden is a national guy. It has a national brand. He may be on the West Coast, but it’s clear he’s a talent Florida was worth pursuing for months, even after he told them no. This shows Billy Napier can recruit west coast. They might not do it a ton, the Florida brand still exists nationally and they can find someone on the West Coast.”
Cooper Petagna, National Recruiting Analyst at 247Sports, follows recruits and their film from coast to coast. He worked in the college football recruiting departments and was very successful on the leap Rashada made in his game from his junior year to his senior year on the field.
“I would say a traditional pocket passer and a guy who continued to improve dramatically from his junior season into his senior season. His completion percentage jumped and he took better care of the ball. I think that for him he’s an NFL caliber arm, can throw all the throws on the field and a three level player His ability to layer football and play with touch and play with anticipation are areas where he has improved. He’s maturing as a player and is a guy who can acclimate pretty quickly once he gets to Gainesville. He may need a year before he sees the field. Between the ears, I ‘ve had a lot of people or even the exposure we’ve had through the media, raving about the kind of advantage he has as a player and how he carries himself. It’s all positive when you look at it. look at the way he is physically evolving and the maturity he carries.”
Florida now has 23 verbal commitments in the 2023 recruiting class, which ranks 8th in the 247Sports recruiting rankings. Florida has obvious needs to fill out the roster this recruiting round, depth in the quarterback room being one of them. From top to bottom, 247Sports National Recruiting Director Steve Wiltfong likes this Billy Napier and its staff responded to these needs.
“I continue to love how Florida is working to rebuild its program,” Wiltfong said. “Landing difference makers in all the important rooms at all levels. It’s hard to win the games you want to win without great quarterback play, so coming out and landing Rashada is huge in that regard. Jaden Rashada is one of the best pure passers in the class and I think he kinda reminds me Dwayne Haskins a bit with the ease with which he throws the ball. It’s an exciting recruiting win and to pull off one in Miami like that certainly makes it more satisfying.”
From a local Florida perspective, that’s a huge talent the Gators bring. Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson has been dynamic for UF in several games this season, but the depth behind him has been a question. The addition of Rashada is a major blow for the staff going forward.
“I think it gives Florida the flexibility that maybe they didn’t have before,” Rudner said. “I think Stokes is a guy who, as we said on Swamp247, is a developing guy. I think a lot of people knew that. He’s got the upper hand, but he wasn’t a guy who was considered like able to come in, day one, and be QB1. With questions on Anthony Richardson is back in Gainesville next year, landing someone who has that playstyle maturity could in a pinch be someone you can rely on as a potential QB1. Jaden Rashada is much closer to this rather Stokes profile. Not only does adding him give UF some security, it adds a more class-ready quarterback, which I think has always been a goal. This is a significant development given the uncertainty on UF’s roster at the QB position, but I could also see this as a situation where if Richardson comes back you have someone like Rashada who is able to learn, watch, and acclimate while you get your senior year out of Richardson and then someone can step in as second-year quarterback and be in a much better position. »