Florida quarterback Jaden Rashada has been released from his National Letter of Intent after signing with the Gators on Dec. 21, according to 247Sports. Rashada, a five-star member of the 2023 class, is ranked the No. 6 quarterback and considered the No. 29 overall player by 247Sports.
Rashada's release is only the latest development in his winding recruitment. The California native initially Ole Miss and Texas A&M but flipped his choice to the Gators -- where he was expected to initially pledge -- in November and ultimately signed during the early signing period.in June over Florida, LSU,
After Rashada signed with Florida, coach Billy Napier said "there's a high level of trust on both ends there," describing the signal caller as a "junkie" in terms of his work ethic.
However, that relationship broke down over the past few weeks amid an issue with a name, image and likeness agreement Rashada signed with a Gators-affiliated collective, according to 247Sports.
How it impacts the Gators
With Rashada likely heading elsewhere to begin his college career, it should clear the stage for Mertz to start for the Gators in 2023. Mertz is expected to have two seasons of eligibility remaining after throwing for 5,405 yards, 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions during an up-and-down career with the Badgers.
He was Wisconsin's primary starter for the past three years during a 19-13 stretch for the program. Former four-star prospect Jack Miller III, an Ohio State transfer, is also on the Gators' roster. He made his first collegiate start and saw his first action for Florida in the Las Vegas Bowl where UF did not manage a touchdown drive. Former three-star prospect Max Brown is another option at QB for Florida after not appearing in game action as a true freshman this past season.
What Rashada's future holds
Many top programs already signed quarterbacks from the Class of 2023, but Rashada should have no shortage of options. Ole Miss has not signed a quarterback in this cycle yet after ranking among Rashada's initial finalists. LSU QB Walker Howard has also entered the transfer portal after appearing in just two games as a true freshman this past season, and the Tigers were among Rashada's initial finalists. According to 247Sports, Rashada also has a visit lined up with Arizona State now that he's free to seek his options.
Here is a scouting report on Rashada from 247Sports national recruiting expert Chris Singletary:
Owns a frame and build that can add ample weight and strength. Has the mold to add at least 20 pounds of muscle easily. As he matures and gets stronger it will benefit his durability, long-term ability, and development. Stands tall in the pocket with the mobility to avoid the rush and buy time to make plays under pressure. Poised and does a nice job making plays off platform. Mechanically displays a smooth, effortless throwing motion. Gets the ball out quickly, generating power from his lower body to have the ball snap out of his hand. Does a good job changing speeds and adding touch on throws when need be, to either fit the pass into tight windows or to complete throws over defenders.
Another option could be Miami considering that Rashada was previously committed to the Hurricanes. But the Canes did sign three-star signal caller Emory Williams last month.