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Elite QB Jaden Rashada Picks Miami Hurricanes Over Florida Gators

The Florida Gators miss out on their top 2023 recruiting target to an in-state rival.

Every coach in college football, particularly in the SEC, occasionally feels the sting that comes from losing out on a major, fought-until-the-very-end recruiting battle. 

Billy Napier may have just experienced his first, and if not his first then certainly his most painful, as Florida's head coach: Pittsburg (Calif.) 2023 quarterback Jaden Rashada announced on Sunday that he has committed to Miami.

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound signal-caller opted for the Hurricanes over the Gators — who were widely considered the frontrunner ahead of Rashada's originally-scheduled June 18 commitment date — as well as Texas A&M, LSU and Ole Miss.

At that point, Rashada was freshly removed from two visits to Florida in as many weeks, once unofficially on May 25 and then officially from June 7-9, immediately following OVs to Texas A&M (June 3-5) and LSU (June 5-7). The Gators were expected to receive the final visit before Rashada made his decision.

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But Miami came calling two days before June 18, leading Rashada to postpone his commitment and fly out to Coral Gables from this past Tuesday through Thursday. And in the end, new Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal won what was an in-state battle with Napier for an out-of-state recruit in Rashada.

The news sends Florida back to square one in its efforts to reel in a quarterback to lead Napier's first full class as the Gators' head coach.

Of the quarterbacks that Florida hosted, offered or shown interest in since the 2023 cycle began, only King's (Mich.) Dante Moore and Brookwood's (Ga.) Dylan Lonergan remain uncommitted at this time. Each prospect has trended elsewhere while Florida focused on recruiting Rashada.

Therefore, Florida will either need to expand its quarterback board over the next few months or attempt to flip a passer committed elsewhere if securing one is a must for this class. The latter would likely require a big 2022 season from Gators' QB Anthony Richardson in Napier's offense, in order to entice recruits to see themselves as a potential fit.

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