Florida's red-hot start to the 2015 season has the Gators looking good with a slew of potential future players, though the fall has become something of a quiet stretch for recruiting in recent years. But while the Gators got a commitment from athlete McArthur Burnett on Saturday, in the afterglow of Florida's obliteration of Mississippi, it was followed Monday afternoon by the decommitment of athlete Tyrek Tisdale.
Burnett's commitment was rumored to be a matter of time rather than intent for much of the summer, with his decommitment from Miami in June seen as the first step in a flip to Florida. Gator Country's Andrew Spivey was first to report Burnett's commitment to Florida, which came after he attended the Gators' win over Mississippi — and prompted a #ChompChomp tweet from Jim McElwain which doubled as his only tweeted comment on the Gators' performance.
#ChompChomp!!!!!!!!!— Jim McElwain (@CoachMcElwain) October 4, 2015
Burnett, from Pahokee and Pahokee High School, is an explosive athlete, rated as the No. 11 all-purpose back in the 2016 class by the 247Sports Composite, and profiles as a defensive back for the Gators despite playing as both a running back and a corner for Pahokee. On his highlight tape, he displays excellent quickness and agility, though a lack of top-end speed.
Burnett was Florida's 21st commitment for the 2016 class, but now ranks as its 20th, after Tisdale took to Twitter to announce he was backing off his pledge.
Tisdale had been shopping around in recent weeks, most notably visiting Oregon State while Florida hosted approximately every high school football player in the Sunshine State for its game against Tennessee and touting a new offer from West Virginia. But Tisdale also retweeted the McElwain tweet embedded above, and had always portrayed himself as a happy (and very vocal) Florida commit on Twitter.
The truth of his decommitment likely lies close to the idea that it is a mutually beneficial decsision.
Gators have a bunch of big-time guys left on their board and Tisdale didn't have one true position https://t.co/Tn5OHuzUU6— Derek Tyson (@DerekTysonESPN) October 5, 2015
Tisdale, like Burnett, plays running back and defensive back in high school, but he was thought more likely to end up on offense — and if commitments hold, Florida's got what looks like a very loaded running back rotation for the next few years. And while Tisdale does have some skills as a wide receiver, Florida's sights are set much higher, on elite players like Nate Craig-Myers, Sam Bruce, and Freddie Swain — who is set to commit on Friday, and thought to be favoring Florida — at that position.
Tisdale decommitting allows him to find a better fit for his talents, and frees up his scholarship for going after theoretically more "important" targets. And if Florida's going to capitalize on its surprising 2015 season by reeling in big fish from the 2016 recruiting class, it may be accomplished with the help of a few other mutually beneficial decisions like this one.