Florida top 50-ranked freshman DB Chris Steele enters NCAA transfer portal

By Adam Silverstein
May 9, 2019
Florida top 50-ranked freshman DB Chris Steele enters NCAA transfer portal

Image Credit: GatorsFB / Twitter

In a huge hit to the Florida Gators’ incoming freshman class that will immediately affect the team in 2019, four-star defensive back Chris Steele has decided to enter the NCAA transfer portal, a source confirmed to OnlyGators.com. Steele enrolled for spring practice but is leaving the Gators before the summer session begins after telling head coach Dan Mullen of his intention on Wednesday night.

This development is a huge blow to Florida as Steele, the 42nd-ranked player in the Class of 2019, was the Gators’ top-rated incoming freshman and expected to see significant action in his first season as one of the team’s primary cornerbacks.

Steele’s transfer was reportedly prompted by the Florida coaching staff not granting his request to change his dormitory in his first month on campus. According to Zach Abolverdi of The Gainesville Sun, Steele was “uncomfortable rooming with quarterback Jalon Jones” but was told that his dorm would not change until the summer session, which “upset Steele and his parents.”

Two female students accused Jones of sexual assault after a set of incidents at the dorm on April 6. The women decided not to press charges, but Jones entered the NCAA transfer portal and Steele’s name wound up in some reports simply because he was Jones’ roommate. The incidents “prompted Steele to seek a transfer, according to Abolverdi.

It had previously been reported that Steele was homesick shortly after enrolling for being far away from his native Southern California. As it stands, he would have to sit an NCAA-mandated year in residence as part of his transfer, making him ineligible to play for his new school until 2020. Steele could potentially use the reported reasoning above to make a case for a waiver with the NCAA to make him eligible immediately.

This marks the second time in three years that one of the team’s top freshmen will not play a down for Florida. The 115th-ranked prospect and the Gators’ second-highest ranked commitment in 2017, four-star wide receiver James Robinson saw his career end before it started due to a heart condition.

In addition to Steele and Jones transferring, junior CB Brian Edwards was recently arrested for battery as part of a domestic incident. His future with the program is unknown.


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