Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen has had quite the offseason. The second-year coach scheduled big-time games for the future, signed the program’s highest-ranked class in five years, and took shots at their SEC rival, the Georgia Bulldogs. It seems like all of those words and trash talk are starting to catch up with him, too.
Less than a week after five-star defensive back Chris Steele put his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal, one that likely could have been avoided if not for a roommate dispute, several recruits are starting to second-guess whether or not Gainesville is the right place for them.
Although there is no direct correlation between the events, it’s definitely surprising to see 2021 prospects Bryce Langston, Dink Jackson, and Trevonte Rucker de-commit at the rate of dominos falling.
Florida’s place in the college football landscape is on the rise right now, and a lot of the credit certainly belongs to Mullen. The Gators went 10-3 last season, including a big Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl win over Michigan, and the future looks as bright as it once did more than a decade ago.
However, these current recruiting problems, some that he can easily recover from with almost two years to lock up 2021 recruits, but they still sting nevertheless.
Vanguard High School (FL) defensive end Bryce Langton and wide receiver Trevonte Rucker are considered to be two of the top high school prospects in the country from Ocala, Florida. Eau Gallie (FL)’s Dink Jackson is considered one of the best athletes in the class, too. All three of them have decided to re-open their commitment in the offseason before their junior seasons.
So what kind of public relations nightmare does Mullen have right now with Steele leaving the program? Paul Finebaum said there’s “a little bit of karma” with everything the Florida coach has said this offseason on WJOX 94.5 FM’s “The Roundtable” to start the week.
“Devastating. Primarily because of Dan Mullen’s mouth. He’s been running it for months, quite frankly, he’s been running it since he was born. I was in his office three and a half weeks ago, I heard him running his mouth about Georgia and it caught up to him and now all those people who have been sitting around going, ‘I wonder why he’s doing that?’ are turning on him.
“Is it a cataclysmic event? No. Losing recruits happens all the time, players get into trouble all the time but I think it’s a little bit of karma flying back at him. I thought Kirby Smart won the day and maybe won the war by just shooing Dan Mullen away the other day like a fly on your sandwich at a Fourth of July picnic. We talk with our helmets is what he said and I thought that was the appropriate answer.”
— Paul Finebaum
Florida fans shouldn’t take these comments completely seriously. There were some jokes and jabs thrown in there to spice it up. However, it certainly does not change the fact that things have not been all good for the University of Florida football program for the last week or so.
Dan Mullen will be fine. The Florida Gators will be fine. There is time to make up for the brief loss of 2021 prospects, whether the head coach decides to stay quiet or not.