Reports: 5-star DB leaving Florida over way football staff handled classmate

GAINESVILLE, FL - APRIL 13: Florida Gators defensive back Chris Steele (22) during the Orange & Blue Game presented by Sunniland on April 13, 2019 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field in Gainesville, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Chris Steele enrolled early at Florida and participated in the team's spring game. Now he is pursuing a transfer. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

One of the top 2019 college football prospects is looking to transfer before most of his classmates have even enrolled.

Chris Steele, a five-star defensive back, signed with Florida and enrolled at the university in January, allowing him to participate in spring practice with the Gators. Four months later, he has put his name into the NCAA transfer portal, according to multiple reports.

It’s a big blow for the Gators. Steele, ranked the 19th-best prospect in the 2019 class, was the highest-ranked player brought in by Dan Mullen’s staff. And his apparent reason for exploring a transfer doesn’t paint Florida in a positive light.

According to multiple outlets, Steele made the decision to put his name in the portal because of circumstances surrounding another UF early enrollee, quarterback Jalon Jones. Steele was reportedly “uncomfortable” sharing a room with Jones and requested to be moved to another dorm. However, the UF football staff did not plan to move Steele until the summer, according to the Gainesville Sun.

From the Sun:

The staff did not plan to move Steele until the summer, which upset Steele and his parents, according to the source. Then two female students accused Jones of sexual assault in the players’ dorm rooms on April 6. That prompted Steele to seek a transfer.

Steele’s request was made before Jones was accused of sexual battery by two female UF students on April 6. Jones was not charged with a crime but has since requested a transfer and left Gainesville. Steele was named in the police report as a witness but not accused of any wrongdoing.

The school has not commented on Steele’s status with the program.

Florida has had an eventful offseason

Steele’s transfer is the latest piece of negative news for Mullen’s program.

On Monday night, junior defensive back Brian Edwards was arrested on a battery charge. Police say Edwards grabbed his girlfriend’s neck during an argument, leaving marks on the woman’s neck and a scratch on her shoulder.

Edwards’ arrest came less than a week after the accusations against Jones came to light. Two women accused Jones of sexual battery in the same night. At the time, neither of the alleged victims elected to pursue charges against Jones, who since put his name in the transfer portal.

On top of that, a member of Mullen’s staff was also arrested. UF recruiting staffer Otis Yelverton was arrested for stalking in late April. Yelverton, the Gators’ assistant director of player personnel, was accused of harassing a woman he was previously dating. According to a police report, Yelverton made calls and sent threatening texts and Facebook messages. In an April 21 voicemail message, Yelverton threatened to “blow up” the woman’s car.

Yelverton was placed on leave by the university.

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