The inevitable finally happened Wednesday night as Crestview linebacker Dillan Lawson let it be known that he is no longer part of Florida’s 2013 class.
Speculation has swirled all summer that the Gators would lose Lawson, who was one of six recruits to commit to UF coach Will Muschamp on Florida’s second Junior Day in February.
The ESPN300 member encountered some academic issues in the spring and transferred to an alternative school (Okaloosa Youth Academy) to improve his grades.
But this week, Muschamp & Co. came to the conclusion that Lawson hadn’t shown enough improvement and the two parties decided it was best to split.
“It was a mutual decision,” Pettis said. “They told him, ‘You need to work on your academic situation and we’ll be here for you once you get everything squared away.’ He’s back at Crestview now and doing all the things academically that he’s supposed to be doing. But we’re still trying to make up core classes to boast his GPA and ACT.”
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Lawson, who could not be reached for comment and has hardly spoken to the media since he pledged to the Gators, revealed the news Wednesday while camping at Florida State.
Here’s what he told ESPN’s Derek Tyson, who was in attendance and first broke the story.
“I’d love to go to Florida, don’t get me wrong. I’d still love to go to Florida … They have my word. Whatever they can work out academically with the school work. If we can get that back on the road, then I’m there. It all depends on my schoolwork. If I can get it caught up and made up by graduation then I’m there.”
Lawson has opened up his recruitment and will visit some other schools, but he still speaks with UF linebacker coach D.J. Durkin and plans to be at Friday Night Lights on July 27.
Pettis believes there’s a 70 percent chance Lawson could end up a Gator again, though a lot of that will depend on his academic standing as a senior.
“This didn’t happen because he’s not interested in Florida,” Pettis said. “Coach Muschamp and the staff did a great job with him. I just think Dillan realized he needed to look at some other places and I told him if you’re going to do that you have to decommit so that Florida can go out there and recruit another player.
“There is no way that I’m going to let a kid be committed to somewhere and then go look somewhere else. I just don’t believe in that.”
Florida’s 2013 recruiting class now has 17 verbal commitments, 11 of which are ESPN300 members.
Photo taken from Crestview’s website