With Arjei Henderson failing to academically qualify for the Florida football team and being released from his National Letter of Intent, according to The Athletic’s Will Sammon, the Gators lose another piece of their top-10 2019 recruiting class.
Henderson, a four-star recruit, was expected to become a key wide receiver for the program. Now, he’s one of five members of the class that will not be gearing up for the team this season.
Three athletes, including Henderson, failed to qualify academically.
Four-star linebacker Diwun Black transferred to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Perkinston, Mississippi) in June after being ruled ineligible, according to 247Sports.
Deyavie Hammond, a four-star offensive lineman, tweeted in July that he too failed to academically qualify and plans to attend JuCo for two years.
For two others, academics weren’t the issue that resulted in departure from Gainesville.
The fallout affected Chris Steele, a four-star cornerback and the top-ranked commit of Florida’s class.
Steele left the program and transferred to USC.
Florida entered the offseason ranked as the No. 9 recruiting class in the country, according to 247Sports. It was the first time the Gators had broken the top 10 since 2014.
Now, as the Gators enter the first week of the season, it no longer looks like a premier class. Subtracting the ranking of the five players no longer enrolled, the class drops from 25 athletes with a .9106 average to 20 with a .9051 average.
That would likely land the 2019 class in the 15-20 range, depending on the 247Sports points scoring system.
Florida is also still dealing with the issues surrounding four-star offensive lineman Wardrick Wilson, who is experiencing visa issues, according to The Athletic.
Florida still has plenty of talent from the 2019 class, particularly on defense with Kaiir Elam, Khris Bogle and Tyron Hopper.
But losing out on those five players hurts, and the impact could be broader than just the next few years on the football field.
With three players failing to qualify academically added to the unforeseen circumstances of others, the program may consider re-thinking its approach to recruiting players who are at risk of not qualifying based on grades.