‘The Collective Never Had The Money’: Four-Star QB Jaden Rashada Makes History and Sues Florida Gators Over Failed $13.85M NIL Deal

Current Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jaden Rashada, a four-star recruit in the 2023 class and No. 6-ranked signal caller in the class, was slated to attend Florida.

Not only was he to be the prized recruit of embattled head coach Billy Napier’s 2023 class, but he was also reportedly offered some major NIL money to do so.

Did Florida Offer Rashada $13.85M deal?

Per Rashada and his team, the talented gunslinger was offered a four-year deal at a whopping $13.85 million. 

For those adding at home that’s $3.46 million per year to be the quarterback in Gainesville. That never came to fruition after the proposed deal fell through, Rashada asked for and was released from his national letter of intent.

Rashada ended up signing with the Arizona State Sun Devils for his freshman season and has since transferred to Georgia after one season in Tempe.

Now in Athens, Rashada is not letting the Gators, the aforementioned Napier and Gators boosters off the hook for the deal going awry. In fact, Rashada is suing all of them in what is known as the first lawsuit filed against a program in the NIL era. 

Rashada Files Lawsuit Against Florida

The lawsuit filed doesn’t give a specific amount that Rashada is seeking, but per reports he’s suing head coach Billy Napier, Florida booster Hugh Hathcock and his company Velocity Automotive and former Gators off-field staffer Marcus Castro-Walker for the failed deal.

The suit which was filed in federal court on Tuesday accuses those individuals of a handful of things to include fraudulent misrepresentation and inducement and aiding and abetting fraud, amongst other charges. 

A statement released by Rashada’s representatives:

“Hathcock on behalf of himself and Velocity Automotive), Castro-Walker and Coach Napier orchestrated and executed a fraud upon Jaden and were substantially and knowingly assisted by one another in carrying out the fraud. Each of their individual schemes would not have succeeded without the assistance from one another.”

Did Florida Lie To Rashada Costing Him $9.5M Deal With Miami?

Rashada’s legendary attorney, Rusty Hardin, also claims that the defendants convinced him to leave a $9.5 million deal at Miami for the $13.85 million deal at Florida with no intention of making good on the payment. Hardin has reportedly been in litigation against Napier and the two boosters since January 2023, not long after Rashada was released from his letter of intent. 

Hathcock And Castro-Walker Upped The Ante

In an effort to get Rashada to flip his commitment, Rashada’s reps say, the boosters offered him the $13.85 million deal with $5.35 million, which also included a $500,000 signing bonus to come through Hathcock’s Velocity Automotive company, and the rest from Gator Guard, which is the NIL collective that Hathcock started.

That changed when Hathcock announced he was selling his company and reportedly informed Rashada’s team that he didn’t want the payments to be taken from his company. Hathcock and Castro-Walker instead opted to have the payments come through the now-defunct Gator Collective.

Something sounds fishy here, and just maybe Rashada was lied to. His legal claim even says during a recruiting visit they promised his dad a job in the security industry. All of it has the aforementioned Hardin, who’s represented the likes of Roger Clemens and Adrian Peterson in the past, to accuse the group of bargaining in bad faith. 

“The collective never had the money and yet they were making all these promises to the kid,” Hardin told CBS Sports. “You dangle life-changing, generation-changing money in front of a 19-year-old kid who grew up without it, you can’t expect that young person to not be affected by it. The bargaining power is totally unequal here.”

And because of that Rashada is fighting back. If he wins things could get real dicey in the NIL world. 

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