Shavar Manuel was one of the more notable “flips” of Wednesday’s National Signing Day, abandoning a longtime pledge to Florida to sign with archrival Florida State. his decision wasn’t entirely shocking, if only because Manuel began leading on that it could happen in the days leading up to National Signing Day, but it still sent a jolt through Florida’s expected class. Now the coach who recruited Manuel to Florida State is allegedly telling journalists that he knew Manuel — who starred at IMG Academy as a senior — was headed to Tallahassee for two weeks before it was official, and that he encouraged Manuel to lead Florida down a primrose path in order to disrupt their chances of scrambling to land his potential replacement.
The relationships between current and former coaching staffs was also a critical factor in the drawn out confusion surrounding Manual. D’Angelo first began recruiting Manuel when he was at Florida, serving on then head coach Will Muschamp’s staff. He left after the arrival of Jim McElwain, and caught on with Florida State shortly thereafter.
Yet D’Angelo’s request for Manuel to drag out the recruiting process wasn’t motivated by any personal vendettas. It was sheer gamesmanship. Considering the fact that Florida and Florida State face off each year, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the Seminoles’ staff would do anything they could to undercut a key annual foe. While beating the Gators in the recruiting rankings might not be as big a thrill as beating them on the field, the first can often lead to the latter, and Jimbo Fisher and his staff certainly know it. Hence Manuel’s over-extended dalliance with Florida.
Now he’s headed to Tallahassee, much to the chagrin of Florida fans everywhere.