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LB Shemar James Decommits from Florida Gators

The Gators will have to look elsewhere at linebacker as one of their star recruits of the 2022 class, Shemar James, has decommitted from Florida.

Announced early this morning, 2022 linebacker Shemar James will not be going to the University of Florida to begin his collegiate career after all. James announced via social media that he has decommitted from the Gators, a shocking blow to the program's 2022 recruiting class.

"First I'd like to thank Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior for putting me in this position and the staff at The University Of Florida for welcoming me with open arms," James began on Twitter. "This was a tough decision for me and my mom to make, but I will be de-committing from the University Of Florida to open my recruitment back up." 

James, out of Faith Academy (Mobile, Ala.) did not rule out the idea of rejoining the Gators class before now and the early signing period. However, it would appear that Alabama and Georgia, two schools that have coveted his talent for a while, are now squarely in the mix for his services.

The disruptive 2022 defender was set to be one of the top players in Florida's recruiting class, a star player recruited primarily by Gators linebackers coach Christian Robinson. Considered the No. 2 linebacker and No. 18 national prospect by Sports Illustrated All-American, James was the highest-rated recruit committed to UF before backing off of that pledge.

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This news comes just a couple of months after James indicated first to AllGators that his recruitment was shut down, suggesting that he would not waver from his commitment to the Gators football program. That came shortly following the program hosting recruits for its Friday Night Lights event in July.

Now it appears Florida will have to look elsewhere to find talent at the linebacker position, another hurdle in recruiting that the program likely didn't anticipate, at least not as of a month ago.

Snags happen, however, in recruiting. Players will commit to a program and drop that commitment several times over. It is, of course, the athlete's most important decision at the time, and it shouldn't be taken lightly.

For now, Florida has just one other off-ball linebacker set to sign on the dotted line in December in Fitzgerald (Ga.) LB EJ Lightsey. Don't be surprised to see Florida turn to another linebacker over the next couple of months to secure depth and long-term potential at the position in this class.

Stay tuned to AllGators for continuous coverage of Florida Gators football, basketball and recruiting. Follow along on social media at @SI_AllGators on Twitter and Florida Gators on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.