Yesterday was a wild and chaotic day for Florida football and its recruiting efforts. The day ended on a fantastic note, landing the commitments of four players for the 2024 class.
The day began on a note far less happy as class of 2025 QB Austin Simmons opted to reclassify as a 2023 prospect and flipped his commitment from the Florida Gators to the Ole Miss Rebels.
For all the recruiting insiders that have connections far better than us at Hail Florida Hail, this flip seemed to catch everyone off guard. But now, looking at the timeline of recent events, as well as some parting comments from Simmons’ father, it feels entirely plausible why the flip took place.
Florida Football: Playing the Sims
Simmons originally committed to Florida football back on April 4 as a member of the class of 2025. There had been rumblings that Simmons could want to come to Gainesville early, given that he is already 17 years old and had enough high school credits to graduate early and enroll in college now.
As the rumblings continued, the word on the street was that Napier had a plan worked out with Simmons and 2024 QB DJ Lagway to keep both parties happy.
Then over the last two weeks, the following events took place:
- Simmons took a trip/visit to Ole Miss
- The SEC schedule for 2024 was released
- Word from On3 got out that Simmons was for sure going to reclassify to the class of 2023
- Simmons and his family disputed the report
- Simmons flips to Ole Miss
Now one of those events may seem out of place compared to the other four, but based on comments from his father, it might not be that out of place.
What probably happened is that Simmons took his trip to Ole Miss, and Lane Kiffin sold him the moon if he opted to come to Oxford now rather than later. Then this week, Simmons knew one way or the other that he wanted to switch to the class of 2023 and, through backchannels, let it get out in public that this was his intention.
Much like when Jaden Rashada had it leak he was decommiting a week before he actually did, the Simmons camp did this more than likely because they wanted to put pressure on either Ole Miss to come through with whatever it was Kiffin was promising or to put pressure on Billy Napier to meet some demands.
Once the Simmons camp got their answer, the flip was complete.
What’s the schedule got to do with it, got to do with it
But again, you might be asking what the SEC schedule has to do with this saga.
"“Florida was nice. Don’t get it twisted,” David Simmons said on Friday. “But the schedule is too tough and they want DJ Lagway.”"
So what potentially kicked off the leak was the Simmons crew looking at Florida’s 2024 schedule and saying, “No thanks.”
And if they had it leak to put pressure on Napier to part ways with Lagway so that Simmons would be the undisputed starter in Gainesville, Napier looked at Simmons and said, “No thanks.”
For a process-oriented guy, it does seem weird that Napier has now been burned twice by the parents of QBs he wanted when so many other areas of the program have been trending up.
The road to get through the day may have been messy, but all that matters, for now, is that Florida football lost one recruit on June 17 and gained four.