The beginning of the Florida Gators’ month of fall practices prior to a season-opening clash with Michigan in early September came on Thursday, with newcomers and veterans split into two sessions.
But one newcomer, freshman wideout James Robinson, was not on hand on Thursday.
On Friday, he was.
Robinson was the most stunning addition to Florida’s 2017 recruiting class on National Signing Day, given the school’s apparent decision to not allow his signing just two days prior to the February event, and has been one of Florida fans’ most anticipated freshmen, given the talent he showed throughout his high school career.
But Robinson did not enroll with the bulk of the 2017 recruiting class in late June, and his status has been the source of some speculation in recent weeks, with whispers that he lacked the proper academic credentials or had again run afoul of the law — Florida’s dropping of Robinson coincided with an arrest for marijuana possession on a visit to Ohio State last January — out there on message boards. Florida coach Jim McElwain told reporters at SEC Media Days that Robinson had the NCAA to deal with, and said Wednesday during a season kickoff press conference that the program was “waiting on some things to clear up” with Robinson.
His arrival at practice on Friday in jersey and helmet is a clear signal, then, that Robinson has enrolled at Florida — or is, at minimum, eligible to practice, even if enrollment for the fall semester is not technically open. McElwain is likely to provide more clarity on Robinson’s status when he next speaks to reporters — possibly after Friday’s practice, and certainly at some point in the coming days.
Regardless, Robinson’s arrival means that Florida has gotten the entirety of its 2017 recruiting class to campus intact — and that one more young man will have the opportunity to play college football at Florida, and enjoy the benefits that come with it.