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Florida players discuss Jaden Rashada's reported NIL deal

On3 imageby:Andy Wittry07/19/23


NASHVILLEFlorida center Kingsley Eguakun said Wednesday at SEC Football Media Days that current Gators players only follow recruiting “a little bit.” However, he said they took notice of the recruitment of former Florida four-star quarterback signee Jaden Rashada.

Rashada was the center of one of the biggest national headlines of the NIL Era when he was granted a release from his Florida National Letter of Intent last winter after On3 reported the now-defunct Gator Collective terminated a contract valued at more than $13 million.

One of the most ambitious collectives in the country might set an aspirational goal of raising or facilitating $13 million in a single year across all of its partner athletes, let alone for a single athlete during his college career. The value of the contract was millions more than the reported $8-plus million contract that a 2023 five-star recruit, reportedly Tennessee‘s Nico Iamaleavea, signed in the spring of 2022.

As Florida players generally downplayed their reactions – at least publicly – to the reported NIL deal that went south, a couple of Gators also described normalcy that stood out amid an abnormal situation.

“So, when the Jaden Rashada stuff was happening…” Eguakun said, laughing. “You know we keep up with recruiting a little bit. But everybody was seeing all the reports and stuff. And everybody was like, ‘Dang. He’s getting that much? Da da da da da.’ You know how that goes. But nobody was really overly worried about it because worrying about somebody else’s pockets, if anything, doesn’t do anything for you.

“We really only talked about it for like a day. Like when it happened. Like when he said he wouldn’t come here, everybody was, ‘Oh, dang. We thought he was coming here. This, that and another.’ But there weren’t deep conversations about it or carrying on conversations about it.”

Rashada is now enrolled at Arizona State after previously flipping his commitment from Miami to Florida.

“I don’t think it was really anything talked about in the locker room at all,” said Florida wide receiver Ricky Pearsall. “We understood it was the recruiting process and NIL is a thing now. So, all the guys respect him and his decision. I think all the guys are just worried about what’s going on in the locker room, not necessarily outside stuff.”

Cornerback Jason Marshall Jr. said he didn’t pay much attention to the reported NIL deal.

Did players believe the reported 8-figure NIL deal?

Jaden Rashada’s deal was reportedly valued at $13.85 million.

“I mean… I believed it, I guess,” Eguakun said. “But at the end of the day, reporters can report anything they want. For real. It was really up in the air. But if he did and (they) felt like they had to give him that to come to the school, then it is what it is. Like I said, I’m not worrying about anybody else’s pockets because it doesn’t do anything for me.

“He’s not going to give me any of that.”

Pearsall echoed that sentiment when asked if Florida players believed the amount.

“I just don’t think we really paid attention to it too much, whether it was true or not,” Pearsall said. “I just think we were worried about the lift that we were going to go into instead of how much he’s going to be making.”