And a tiny recruiting class got even smaller.
The Gators were already working with one of the tiniest recruiting classes among Power Five schools in the nation, even before their not-publicly-called-a-firing-but-that's-what-it-was of Will Muschamp, thanks to the job security issues that swirled around Muschamp and the Gators all year. But since Muschamp's departure, the decommitments have mounted: First it was Georgia linebacker Adonis Thomas, then Ohio linebacker Jerome Baker. And now Jones makes three four-star players — all from outside Florida, notably — who have backed off their pledges to Florida.
Quarterbacks like Jones are typically committing to offensive coordinators and head coaches before anyone else, and Jones was most certainly Kurt Roper's guy. With Jim McElwain, renowned for his quarterback development, coming in, Jones could have stayed on Florida's commitment list and learned from another respected teacher ... but decommitting, when the head coach and offensive coordinator you committed to are not returning and unlikely to return, respectively, is the more logical plan of action.
Jones's decommitment hurts, too, because he's the kind of thrower who would've been good in any system, including McElwain's, and because his confidence struck me as the sort that compels others to follow. I have little doubt he's going to be a success — but it probably won't be at Florida, and might, unfortunately, be against the Gators, given that Jones has reportedly named Tennessee his leader.
But it's also true that Jones was seen as the cherry on top for a loaded quarterback roster going forward. Treon Harris and Jeff Driskel could both return after starting games in 2014 — Driskel is unlikely to do so, I think — and Will Grier, who redshirted behind both players, was and is considered a blue-chip talent who mostly needed to add weight to survive a season as a college starter.
Of those three (read: two) players, Florida's probably got a starter for at least 2015, and perhaps a couple more years. But it will be important for Florida to land a quarterback who can play either this cycle or next, for the purposes of protecting against a sudden lack of depth should the loser of the Grier-Harris duel decide to transfer.
And most quarterbacks in the 2015 recruiting class who are that good have already made their commitments.
National Signing Day's a little over six weeks away. No pressure, Coach Mac.