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Georgia Quarterback Suing Florida Football Brass Over Recruiting Situation

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Photo by Emma Bissell/ Florida Athletics

Former Florida recruiting target and current Georgia quarterback Jaden Rashada is suing Florida football head coach Billy Napier, Gators football booster Hugh Hathcock, and previous football staff member Marcus Castro-Walker, according to a field lawsuit and multiple reports on Tuesday.

The lawsuit revolves around a failed name, image, and likeness deal during Rashada’s recruitment. Rashada signed with Florida as part of the Gators’ 2023 class but was later released from his National Letter of Intent, specifically due to a failed $13 million NIL deal. Rashada wound up going to Arizona State for one season after the debacle in Gainesville before transferring to Georgia in April for the 2024 season.

According to On3 Sports’ Andy Staples, the heart of Rashada’s lawsuit lies with an allegedly promised $1 million to the quarterback prospect for signing with the Gators, which he never received despite signing with the program. The lawsuit also claims that Rashada never received money from the $13.85 million contract that he signed.

“During his phone call with Harlen, Coach Napier relayed that Jaden would be receiving $1 million from Hathcock as a partial payment towards the promised $13.85 million once Jaden formally signed his National Letter of Intent with UT that day,” page 20 of the lawsuit reads. The lawsuit also goes on to state that “increased pressure” of pulling a scholarship offer from staffers in the program helped force Rashada’s hand into signing despite the promises not coming to fruition yet.

“Sadly, unethical and illegal tactics like this are more and more commonplace in the Wild West that is today’s college football landscape,” the lawsuit reads. “As the first scholar-athlete to take a stand against such egregious behavior by adults who should know better, Jaden seeks to hold Defendants accountable for their actions and to expose the unchecked abuse of power that they shamelessly wielded.”

On Jan. 20, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reported that the Florida football program was the target of an investigation from the NCAA. The NCAA sent a notice of inquiry to Florida president Ben Sasse on June 9, which was acquired by the Tampa Bay Times and the Associated Press on Jan. 20, detailing the investigation that was being launched. Schlabach’s reporting via the AP notes that “Rashada’s name was not mentioned in the letter, nor was the nature of the alleged NCAA rules violations.”

Rashada played in three games for Arizona State during the 2023 season, completing 44-of-82 passes for 485 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. Rashada officially entered the portal on April 18 and emerged as a Georgia commit just seven days later on April 25.

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