Florida Gators recruit Jaden Rashada smiles on the sideline during the second half against the Florida Gators at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, November 12, 2022. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

Ncaa Football Florida Gators Vs South Carolina Gamecocks

Reports: Florida releases QB Jaden Rashada after NIL deal nixed

Jaden Rashada is free to sign with another team after he was released from his national letter of intent by Florida, multiple media outlets reported Friday.

A four-star quarterback prospect, Rashada asked for his release after a reported $13 million name, image and likeness deal fell through.

Universities in Florida are prohibited by state law from providing or arranging NIL competition, with deals instead made through third parties called collectives.

The Gator Collective terminated its agreement with Rashada on Dec. 7, The Athletic reported, adding the group hoped to sign him to a lesser deal.

Rashada, who is rated as the No. 7 quarterback in the 2023 class by the 247Sports composite, never enrolled in classes this month as planned and asked to be released earlier this week.

National Signing Day is Feb. 1. He signed with the Gators during the early signing period in December.

A California native, Rashada originally committed to Miami before flipping to Florida. He took official visits to those schools, as well as LSU, Texas A&M and Ole Miss, according to 247Sports.

With Rashada out of the picture, the Gators’ quarterback situation is muddled. Anthony Richardson started the 2022 season then declared for the NFL draft, and his backup, Jalen Kitna, was dismissed from the program after being arrested on child pornography charges.

A pair of Big Ten transfers, Graham Mertz from Wisconsin and Jack Miller III from Ohio State, are expected to compete for the starting QB job.

As for Rashada, 247Sports reported that he is scheduled to make an unofficial visit to Arizona State this weekend. His father, Harlen, played defensive back for the Sun Devils in the early 1990s.

–Field Level Media

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Rob Sale hugs Florida Gators recruit Jaden Rashada after the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, November 12, 2022. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

Ncaa Football Florida Gators Vs South Carolina Gamecocks

Reports: QB Jaden Rashada asks for Florida release over NIL miss

Quarterback Jaden Rashada wants out of a commitment to Florida due to a failed Name, Image and Likeness agreement worth a reported $13 million.

Rashada originally committed to Miami in June 2022 but changed his plans to sign with Florida four days before Christmas. When an expected NIL deal with Gator Collective wasn’t formalized, per reports, Rashada didn’t enroll at the university last week.

Florida coach Billy Napier visited transfer portal option Walker Howard last week. The four-star Louisiana product left LSU after playing only two games in 2022, but he committed to Ole Miss on Wednesday.

Napier said at the Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 3 that he expected Rashada to enroll early to join the team in January.

Rashada said on Nov. 11 before attending the Florida-South Carolina game that he was committing to Napier based on what the Gators were building.

“I have watched this season and Coach Napier and his team are building something very special in The Swamp and I want to be a part of it,” Rashada said via Twitter.

On the heels of 2022 starter Anthony Richardson declaring for the NFL draft and the dismissal of Jalen Kitna due to child pornography charges, the Gators might be left with Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz and Jack Miller III competing this spring. Miller, a redshirt freshman, started for Florida in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Gator Collective had a binding agreement with Rashada that AP reported was worth $13 million over four years before it was canceled.

Rashada was the top recruit in Florida’s incoming class, ranked in the top 50 by most recruiting services — No. 27 at ESPN — and a top-10 quarterback.

Rashada left Gainesville to return to his home near San Francisco after opting not to register at the Jan. 13 spring deadline, his mother told 247 Sports.

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2022; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Trey Benson (3) runs for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Florida Gators at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 Florida State outlasts Florida 45-38

Florida State running back Trey Benson rushed for the tiebreaking touchdown — his third of the night — with 4:06 remaining to lead the No. 16 Seminoles to a 45-38 win over the visiting Florida Gators on Friday night in Tallahassee, Fla.

Tied at 38 after Florida rebounded with two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the Seminoles — a 9 1/2-point favorite — needed Benson’s 17-yard ramble after they rallied three times from single-score deficits.

Florida State blitzed Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson on a fourth-and-12 at the Seminoles’ 26-yard line and forced an incompletion for the final turnover on downs to seal the victory.

The win completed a turnaround by Florida State (9-3) from its five wins last season, and it was the highest-scoring game in series history.

Benson carried 20 times for 111 yards, while quarterback Jordan Travis rushed 15 times for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Travis, a junior, went 13-for-30 for 270 yards with a score as the Seminoles broke a three-game losing streak against the Gators.

Richardson was 9-for-27 for 198 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Ricky Pearsall caught five passes for a career-high 148 yards and two scores. Jonathan Odom caught a touchdown pass, and Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne (129 yards rushing) scored on the ground.

After a turnover on downs, the Seminoles took advantage when Benson raced nine yards for a 7-0 lead. But on the next scrimmage play, Richardson found Pearsall on a 52-yard heave.

Richardson then threw a 12-yard score to Odom on a play-action bootleg for the visitors’ first lead at 4:06. As the wild opening quarter neared its end, Travis tallied on a 29-yard run to knot the game again.

Following Pearsall’s second long scoring reception — from 43 yards — Travis evened it at 21-all with a 1-yard keeper at 5:44. But Florida had enough time for a 41-yard field goal by Adam Mihalek for a 24-21 halftime lead.

The two teams combined for 580 yards of total offense and 25 first downs in the first half.

After missing a field goal 37 yards in the second quarter, Florida State’s Ryan Fitzgerald nailed one from 46 yards in the third. Benson put his squad up for the first time since the game’s first score on a 1-yard run with 4:21 left. Travis hit Kentron Poitier for 6 yards for a 38-24 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Johnson and Etienne rushed for touchdowns to tie it at 38.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State University wide receiver defensive back Renardo Green (8) reacts during the second half against the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 Florida State tries to prioritize beating rival Florida

Through 11 games, Florida State has had a renaissance under third-year coach Mike Norvell, but all of that will be tempered if the No. 16 Seminoles fail to do their job on their home turf on Black Friday.

Their mission: Beat the University of Florida.

On a rare Friday evening matchup on rivalry weekend, the Seminoles will host the Gators in Tallahassee, Fla., in the 66th meeting between the schools.

Following Saturday’s 49-17 walloping of Louisiana, Florida State (8-3) sits with a chance at a nine-win regular season, which would be its first since 2016 — an improvement that represents a major upturn in the program.

After Norvell started his tenure in the state capital with a dismal 3-10 mark in 2020 into the first four games of 2021, the former Memphis coach and his Seminoles have won 13 of the past 19. They finished 5-3 in the ACC’s Atlantic Division this season, trailing only 8-0 Clemson.

Across their last four contests against Georgia Tech, Miami, Syracuse and Louisiana, FSU has won the scoring battle 173-39.

Despite the Gators (6-5) being inconsistent in 2022 — beating then-No. 7 Utah in the season opener and losing last week to SEC East Division doormat Vanderbilt — Norvell sees a dangerous squad under first-year coach Billy Napier.

“You see talent, this is a talented team,” said Norvell, whose group has won four straight games on two occasions. “Great size, speed, athleticism. You’ve seen them play at very high levels at different spots of the year.

“They’re in the first year of a new staff, new schemes, different things like that. It’s a talented group we’re playing.”

Napier opined that hitting on all cylinders isn’t happening on a regular basis — in Gainesville or anywhere else.

“I think we live in a time where you just see a lot of inconsistency,” he said Monday.

The Gators lead the all-time series 37-26-2, but that inconsistency was out in full force in Nashville, Tenn., last weekend. Napier’s club did the nearly unthinkable in its SEC finale: Losing to the one foe it consistently defeats.

In a mistake-filled showing against Vanderbilt, the Gators dropped a 31-24 decision after trailing almost the entire game, once by as many as 16 points.

The Commodores recovered a muffed punt for a score late in the first half. They then received three touchdown passes from Mike Wright for a 28-12 third-quarter lead that Florida could never equal, much less overcome.

In the Music City, the Gators authored a teary gridiron ballad in front of mostly their fans who had traveled to see an easy win.

They committed 80 yards in penalties, went 4-for-15 on third downs and rushed for 45 yards in losing on the road against the Commodores for the first time since 1988 — ending a 15-game winning streak.

Said Napier after the ugly showing: “It’s a setback, no question … I saw a lot of Florida beating Florida.”

The Gators will be without Ventrell Miller (targeting) for the first half against Florida State. Two of their top wide receivers, Xzavier Henderson and Ricky Pearsall, are questionable to play.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Gainesville, Florida, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Jalen Brooks (13) causes Florida Gators wide receiver Xzavier Henderson (3) to fumble the ball on special teams during the first quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida routs South Carolina 38-6, becomes bowl eligible

Anthony Richardson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as host Florida became bowl-eligible in coach Billy Napier’s first season with a 38-6 victory over South Carolina on Saturday in Gainesville, Fla.

Richardson went 11-for-23 passing for 112 yards and rushed for 96 yards for the Gators (6-4, 3-4 SEC), who dominated the Gamecocks (6-4, 3-4) from the opening kickoff.

Montrell Johnson Jr. ran for 161 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, while Trevor Etienne rushed for 100 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown run, on eight carries. Caleb Douglas had three receptions for 53 yards for the Gators, who scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and kicked a field goal on their fourth drive.

Spencer Rattler went for 18-for-26 passing for 145 yards, while Jaheim Bell ran for 30 yards on 12 carries. Dakereon Joiner had two catches for 73 yards, including a catch for a 48-yard score off a fake punt.

Florida outgained the Gamecocks 515-205, holding them to just 11 first downs and 3 for 11 on third-down conversions. The Gators rushed for 374 yards and three touchdowns.

Leading 24-6 at halftime, the Gators put the game away on Richardson’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Odom for a 31-6 lead with 9:43 left in the third quarter.

Johnson’s 8-yard touchdown run extended the lead to 38-6 with 6:02 left in the game.

The Gators took a 7-0 lead on their opening possession when Richardson’s 3-yard run capped a 14-play, 75-yard drive with 9:17 left in the first quarter.

After a South Carolina punt, Richardson capped a seven-play, 64-yard drive with a 15-yard strike to Pearsall for a 14-0 lead with 4:31 left in the first quarter.

The Gators pushed the lead 21-0 when Etienne ran down the sideline 85 yards into the end zone with 1:59 left in the first quarter.

Florida outgained South Carolina 219-37 in the first 15 minutes.

Adam Mihalek’s 28-yard field goal made it 24-0 with 6:24 left in the half.

South Carolina pulled to 24-6 when punter Kai Kroeger threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Joyner on a fake punt with 1:52 remaining in the first half, though the two-point conversion failed.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) looks up in the second half against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Richardson, Florida set to test South Carolina

Attaining bowl eligibility under first-year coach Billy Napier is Florida’s focus on Saturday when the Gators host South Carolina in Gainesville, Fla.

Florida (5-4, 2-4 SEC) is coming off one its best offensive performances of the season to end a two-game slide with a 41-24 win at Texas A&M on Saturday.

South Carolina (6-3, 3-3) pulled away from host Vanderbilt for a 38-27 win on the same day.

Anthony Richardson threw for two touchdowns and rushed for 78 yards and two more scores for the Gators, while Montrell Johnson Jr. added 100 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. The Gators rolled up 492 yards of total offense, including 291 on the ground while rushing for an average of 5.8 yards per carry.

South Carolina looked improved on offense Saturday.

Spencer Rattler went 18-for-26 passing for 200 yards and three touchdowns, with Antwane Wells Jr. finishing with four catches for 110 yards, including touchdowns catches of 68 and 17 yards.

Richardson has completed 55.7 percent of his passes for 1,839 yards with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. He also has rushed for 492 yards and eight touchdowns on 74 carries.

Johnson has rushed for a team-high 549 yards to go along with eight touchdowns, while Justin Shorter (21 catches, 471 yards), Ricky Pearsall (22 catches, 406 yards) and Xzavier Henderson (36 catches, 395 yards) each have two receiving touchdowns.

Rattler has completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 1.837 yards with eight touchdowns and nine interceptions, with Wells posting 41 receptions for 574 yards and four scores.

“(South Carolina) is a team that is very capable,” Napier said. “They’ve got some really unique matchup players, individual players that I think can present a number of challenges.”

The Gamecocks could also be bolstered with the return of leading rusher MarShawn Lloyd (556 yards, nine TDs), who was sidelined against Vanderbilt with a bruised thigh.

“We’re optimistic that he’ll be able to go this weekend,” South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said.

South Carolina posted a 40-17 win over the Gators last year in Columbia, S.C.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA;  Florida Gators wide receiver Xzavier Henderson (3) is tackled by Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Jarred Kerr (33) in the first half at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Richardson (4 TDs) fuels Florida past Texas A&M

Quarterback Anthony Richardson threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two more as Florida posted a 41-24 victory over Texas A&M on Saturday in College Station, Texas.

In only their second road game, the Gators (5-4, 2-4) overcame a four-point halftime deficit with Richardson’s two passing scores to deal the Aggies (3-6, 1-5) their fifth consecutive defeat.

Richardson completed 17 of 28 for 201 yards, with touchdown passes to Ja’Quavion Fraziars and Caleb Douglas. Richardson rushed for 78 yards and two scores. Montrell Johnson Jr. had 22 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown.

Battling a flu bug all week, the Aggies started quarterback Haynes King, who went 23 of 45 for 279 yards and a touchdown.

Devon Achane rushed for 122 yards on 16 carries, with two rushing scores and one receiving. Evan Stewart had eight receptions for 120 yards.

On its remaining schedule, Texas A&M will have to beat Auburn, UMass and LSU to compete in a bowl game.

With each team riding losing streaks, both offenses appeared eager to snap the skids — scoring on the game’s first seven possessions.

Adam Mihalek ended a 42-yard drive with a 50-yard field goal for the first points, but the Aggies traveled 75 yards on just three plays before Achane rambled five yards to make it 7-3.

On a drive aided by a targeting call on the Aggies’ Jaylon Jones, Richardson made it 10-7 at 6:01 by dashing 10 yards for a touchdown.

Achane notched his second score by taking a third-down swing pass five yards for a 14-10 lead at 1:47, but Richardson went 60 yards on a keeper with 33 seconds left in the quarter.

In the second quarter, Randy Bond’s 24-yard field goal knotted it at 17 with 11:58 remaining. However, Mihalek matched Bonds with a kick from the same distance with 4:49 remaining.

Achane, who had 101 rushing yards at halftime, scored for the third time on a short run as the Aggies led 24-20 at the break.

Early in the third, Richardson lobbed a 19-yard score to Fraziars. He added another to Douglas from 12 yards with 3:58 left for a 34-24 lead. Johnson’s 5-yard run ended the scoring in the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Daijun Edwards (30) is congratulated after he scores a touchdown against the Florida Gators during the first quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia finishes off SEC rival Florida again, 42-20

Daijun Edwards and Kenny McIntosh each ran for two scores and Stetson Bennett added two touchdowns passes as top-ranked Georgia pulled away for a 42-20 win over Florida in the Southeastern Conference rivals’ annual clash in Jacksonville, Fla.

Bennett went 19-for-38 passing for 316 yards with two interceptions, with tight end Brock Bowers finishing with five catches for 154 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown.

Ladd McConkey had four catches for 51 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown.

Edwards rushed for 106 yards, which included touchdown runs of 1 and 22 yards, on just 12 carries for Georgia (8-0, 5-0 SEC). McIntosh ran for 90 yards, which included scoring runs of 2 and 4 yards, on 16 carries in Georgia’s fifth win over Florida (4-4, 1-4) in the past six meetings.

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson went 18-for-37 passing for 271 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

Xzavier Henderson had five catches for 110 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown, while Trevor Etienne had 11 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown.

Trailing 28-3 at halftime, Florida took advantage of two Georgia turnovers to score 17 points in a span of 11:29 to pull to within 28-20.

Etienne’s 3-yard run with 9:34 left in the third quarter and Adam Mihalek’s 26-yard field goal a little more than three minutes later following a Bulldogs’ fumble cut the lead to 28-13.

After Bennett’s second interception, Richardson threw a 78-yard scoring strike to Henderson down the sideline to trim the lead to 28-20 with 3:31 left in the third quarter.

But that’s as close as the Gators would get, as Edwards’ 22-yard touchdown run pushed the lead to 35-20 with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.

McIntosh’s 4-yard run on Georgia’s next possession made it 42-20 with 11:44 left in the game.

Georgia outgained Florida 555-371 and held the Gators to 4-for-16 on third-down conversions, while the Bulldogs went 6-for-12 and averaged 7.1 yards per play overall.

In the first half, Georgia outgained Florida 346-88, holding the Gators to just 13 rushing yards and two first downs.

–Field Level Media

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) avoids a tackle from Vanderbilt linebacker Ethan Barr (32) during the 1st half as Georgia takes on Vanderbilt at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga. on Saturday, Oct. 15th, 2022.

Sports Richard Hamm

No. 1 Georgia carries upper hand in matchup vs. Florida

Top-ranked Georgia will look to remain in national-championship form against reeling Florida when the rivals meet Saturday at Jacksonville, Fla.

The Bulldogs and Gators are coming off bye weeks while headed in opposite directions. Georgia (7-0, 4-0 SEC) has passed every test on its schedule, while Florida (4-3, 1-3) has struggled in conference play under first-year coach Billy Napier.

Georgia is second nationally in scoring defense (9.1 points per game), fourth in rushing defense (83.4 yards per game), fifth in passing yards allowed (163.7 yards) and tied for eighth in scoring offense (41.7 points).

The Gators’ weakness has been their defense, which has allowed opponents to average 185 yards rushing and 244.3 passing yards per game. Florida has allowed opponents to convert 52.6 percent of their third downs, which ranks 130th out of 131st FBS schools, just ahead of Colorado’s 52.8 percent.

“We know why we’ve lost games,” Napier said. “I think we know what winning football looks like. The games we lost we didn’t deserve to win.”

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett has completed 70.7 percent of his passes for 2,033 yards, seven touchdowns and just one interception, leading an offense that is second in the country in yards per game (526.6).

Tight end Brock Bowers has 26 receptions for 393 yards with two touchdowns, while Ladd McConkey has 29 catches for 362 yards and a score. Kenny McIntosh has been a threat out of the backfield with 28 receptions for 270 yards, in addition to rushing for 248 yards and four scores on 53 carries.

The Bulldogs’ Daijun Edwards is averaging 5.7 yards per carry, having rushed for 337 yards and five touchdowns on 59 carries.

Bennett, however, wasn’t great in his start against Florida last year. He went 10-of-19 passing for 161 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in Georgia’s 34-7 win, its fourth in the past five meetings between the teams.

But Bennett outplayed Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, who will enter Saturday’s game looking to atone for last year.

Richardson was benched after a disastrous two-plus minute stretch in which his three turnovers led to three touchdowns that made it 24-0 at the half following Nakobe Dean’s 50-yard interception return for a touchdown in the final seconds.

Richardson finished 12-for-20 for 82 yards, with two interceptions and a lost fumble.

Richardson has shown growth this year. He has thrown for 1,367 yards with six touchdowns and seven interceptions, in addition to rushing for 395 yards and six touchdowns on 56 carries for an average of 7.1 yards per attempt.

“From the start of the season, you watch every game in sequence and you say, man, this guy is growing and getting better,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “You have got to be careful with him. Some of the runs he’s had have been better than some running backs have across the country.”

Florida’s Montrell Johnson is averaging 7.2 yards per carry while rushing for 425 yards and seven touchdowns on 59 attempts.

Xzavier Henderson, who has 27 catches for 252 yards and a score, is the lone Gator with more than 18 receptions. Justin Shorter has averaged 22.5 yards on his 18 receptions for 405 yards and two scores, while Ricky Pearsall has 16 catches for 303 yards and two touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; Gainesville, Florida, USA; LSU Tigers running back John Emery Jr. (4) runs the ball in for a touchdown against the Florida Gators during the first quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jayden Daniels (6 TDs) leads LSU past Florida, 45-35

Jayden Daniels threw three touchdown passes and ran for three more as visiting LSU held off Florida 45-35 in an SEC game Saturday night in Gainesville, Fla.

Daniels completed 23 of 32 passes for 349 yards and ran for 44 yards to lead the Tigers (5-2, 3-1 SEC).

Anthony Richardson threw a touchdown pass and added an 81-yard touchdown run to lead the Gators (4-3, 1-3).

On the first play of the third quarter, LSU’s Josh Williams, who finished with 106 yards rushing, broke free for a 50-yard run. Two plays later Daniels ran 9 yards for a touchdown that increased the Tigers lead to 35-21.

Daniels ran 9 yards for his third touchdown and a 42-21 lead at the end of the third quarter.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Richardson scrambled 81 yards for a touchdown that pulled the Gators within 14.

Trevor Etienne added a 1-yard touchdown run to trim the lead to 42-35 with 7:39 left.

The Tigers passed on a field goal attempt to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Gators 27 and Williams gained 2 yards with three minutes remaining. That led to Damian Ramos’ 47-yard field goal and a 10-point lead with 1:52 left.

Etienne returned the opening kickoff 47 yards. Two plays later Richardson threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Justin Shorter to open the scoring just 59 seconds into the game.

LSU answered with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Daniels to John Emery Jr. to tie the score.

Montrell Johnson ran 39 yards for a touchdown that gave Florida a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Daniels ran 1 yard for a tying score early in the second quarter.

Moments later, Jack Bech muffed a punt and Rocco Underwood recovered for the Gators at the Tigers 13. Five plays later Johnson ran 3 yards for a touchdown on a third-and-goal to give Florida a 21-14 lead.

LSU answered with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Daniels to Brian Thomas Jr. to tie the score.

The Tigers took their first lead when Daniels threw a 54-yard touchdown to Jaray Jenkins for a 28-21 lead.

–Field Level Media