One of the major recruiting victories for Florida head coach Dan Mullen on the early national signing day last December was successfully landing a trio of four-star prospects from one high school in Lakeland, Florida. Now, it turns out one of those touted recruits will begin his college career at a junior college instead of with the Gators in Gainesville.
Offensive lineman Deyavie Hammond announced on his Twitter account he will not be attending Florida due to not qualifying for NCAA academic standards. Hammond did not announce where specifically he will be starting his college football career but he did confirm he plans to attend a junior college for the next two seasons. The expectation is he will then look to transfer to an FBS program, although time will tell if the door to Florida is still open by the time that decision is made.
Hammond is the second four-star recruit in Florida’s Class of 2019 to start off at a JUCO program this year. Last month, linebacker Diwun Black enrolled at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College because he needed to focus on some academic setbacks before being able to enroll at Florida. Mullen voiced his support for Black with a show of support on Twitter.
Florida has also seen two additional departures from the Class of 2019 with four-star quarterback Jalon Jones accused of sexual assault and former five-star cornerback Chris Steele transferring after enrolling early for spring practice.
Mullen may have some work to do with his staff in putting together its next recruiting class after the way this Class of 2019 has unfolded.
If there was any doubt about which college football program has a pipeline at Lakeland High School in Florida, the Florida Gators put that to rest with a trio of commitment announcements Wednesday morning. At a press conference sitting side-by-side, four-star recruits Deyavie Hammond, Lloyd Summerall, and Keon Zipper each declared their commitment to the Gators. The news was well-received by Florida head coach Dan Mullen, who broke out his broom on Twitter and Zimmer gave Florida a clean sweep of Lakeland’s latest top recruits.
The importance of having an established connection at Lakeland has not been overlooked by Mullen. The school has produced a handful of top players in recruiting over the years including Mike Pouncey and Maurkice Pouncey, Ahmad Black, and former XFL standout Rod Smart. Mullen clearly made it a point to create a relationship with the high school as he looks to build Florida back to being the SEC contending program they once were. Seizing in-state talent is always key for the power programs in the state of Florida. All three players making their announcements chose Florida over Miami and other programs as well.
Hammond will provide some good quality depth on the offensive line and Summerall should add the same beef to the defensive line. Summerall made waves recently in the recruiting world when a photo of his father dressed in full Florida uniform was making the rounds. Maybe the recruiting strategy helped seal the deal for Mullen and Florida. Zipper, a tight end, will potentially be a reliable asset in the passing game as Mullen continues to mold the program to his vision.
Florida may not have a five-star player at this point in time, but Mullen is adding plenty of four-star prospects to improve the quality of players on the roster at a variety of positions.