Florida Football: Whether it's Jaden Rashada or Billy Napier, someone will lose big

The one-time Florida Gators commit is suing Billy Napier over a failed NIL deal
Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY

Last week, the sun was shining over Billy Napier and Florida Football. The Gators gained two massive commitments in the transfer portal and momentum felt like it was starting to build.

Enter Jaden Rashada to crash that party as the one time Florida commit is now officially suing Napier, among others, over his failed NIL deal that led to his departure from Gainesville.

One thing is clear, either Rashada and his family are going to be exposed for being money hungry paycheck chasers, or Napier is going to be exposed as a manipulative fraud.

This town isn't big enough for both of them.

Florida Football: It's My Money And I Need It Now

Rashada is suing Napier, Hugh Hathcock, and Marcus Castro-Walker for fraud after an alleged $13.8 million NIL deal fell through. At the core of his complaint, Rashada is claiming that representatives from Florida lied about the NIL deal to get him to sign with the Gators, and once it was clear that deal wasn't on the table there were no other lucrative options left for Rashada to pursue.

There are a lot of interesting layers to this case, none of which are going allow both Rashada and Napier to come out on the other side looking good.

If everything Rashada alleges is true, including that Napier himself called Rashada in December of 2022 to promise a $1 million payment that never materialized, it paints Napier as a fraud who had far more involvement in the NIL process than he has publicly admitted.

Keep in mind, FSU offensive coordinator Alex Atkins is suspended for the first three games of the 2024 campaign for his direct involvement in NIL deals.

It also raises questions as to why Florida let go Castro-Walker back in February. As we wrote at the time, it feels like he was positioned as a fall guy for this investigation. We have a hard time believing he acted as a solo rouge agent on this deal with Rashada, and this lawsuit would back up that Castro-Walker was not acting alone.

But this is also Jaden Rashada, and more importantly Harlen Rashada, we are talking about. Any time his name has surfaced it has been about money. He seemingly committed to Miami because they were the highest bidder. When he flipped to Florida, as this lawsuit spells out, it was because the Gators were the new highest bidder.

Along the way, being a top-level quarterback seemingly was forgotten about, as he was beat out at Arizona State for the starting job by Sam Leavitt, a fringe four-star quarterback from the same class of 2023 Rashada was in. Thus, Rashada is now in Athens, where he also won't see the field and is in a much more crowded QB room than the one in Tempe.

If this lawsuit goes nowhere, one has to wonder what the long-term residual effects for Rashada would be. Most seem to think that the NIL contract in question was a non-binding agreement and Rashada's camp is going to have a difficult time overcoming that in a courtroom.

One thing is clear that Jaden Rashada and the Florida Gators are going to be linked together long after the court proceedings are through. He's either going to go down as the player who took down Billy Napier, or as the player who wouldn't stop being a thorn in Florida's side.

Only time will tell which story is the one we will be telling ten years from now.