The Florida Gators’ 2019 recruiting class will lose yet another member before any signee could play in a full game, as wide receiver Arjei Henderson will not academically qualify to enroll at Florida, per The Athletic’s Will Sammon.
Sammon reports that Henderson will be released from his National Letter of Intent, which should allow him to enroll at another four-year university if he can find one that where he can be academically certified.
Henderson surprised many with his commitment to the Gators at the Under Armour All-American Game in January, with rumors of potential academic woes being used then to cast doubt on the Texas product’s choice of an out-of-state school, and one that seemingly trailed Florida State in the race for his commitment. Henderson signing with the Gators in February quelled some of those worries, but his inability to get qualified in time for a summer enrollment resuscitated them.
And now they have proven to be based in enough truth for Florida to lose a fifth member of its 2019 recruiting class before the first game of the 2019 season.
Henderson joins spring enrollees Jalon Jones (transfer) and Chris Steele (transfer) and fellow so-called “academic casualties” Diwun Black and Deyavie Hammond in parting company with the Gators before the season began in earnest.
And this attrition is hitting Florida at the top of its board: Four of those five recruits were four-star recruits, with Steele within the nation’s top 50 prospects according to the 247Sports Composite rating, Henderson within the nation’s top 150, and Black missing the latter designation by one spot. Hammond was also a top-250 prospect, if barely.
Retroactively removing those five players — a fifth of the 25-person class the Gators signed in February — would assuredly bump Dan Mullen’s first Florida class constructed with a full year of runway from a top-10 ranking into at least the teens.
And there may yet be a sixth signee who fails to enroll at Florida, though South Florida offensive lineman Wardrick Wilson’s plight — poorly explained to the public thus far, but understood to be an issue involving a visa — is seemingly not due to any academic underperformance on his part.
Whether or not Wilson makes it to Gainesville, it would seem that Mullen and his recruiting department — newly fortified by the return of Jim McElwain-era staffer John Herron, who most recently worked in Florida State’s recruiting department — have much work to do when it comes to either properly identifying prospects who can qualify and will stay in Gainesville or in helping them qualify and meet Mullen’s “Gator standard” for behavior once in town.