It's been over 36 hours since CeCe Jefferson announced on national TV that he was committing to Florida over Ole Miss and Auburn, but the five-star defensive end's recruitment still hasn't ended. On Thursday, news broke that he had not yet sent in his letter of intent due to -- depending on which rumor you believe -- either his dad not co-signing the document or the discovery that his primary recruiter in Gainesville is set to leave for the NFL.
Naturally, this led to rampant and unfounded speculation of under-the-table dealings and Cam Newton-esque bidding wars. It's also led to premature celebration among Auburn and Ole Miss fans jumping to the conclusion that Jefferson is bailing on his Florida pledge. National Signing Day drama like this is par for the course (Rebel fans will remember the Floyd Raven debacle from a few years ago), but given the fact that Jefferson is rated the seventh best overall player in the country by 247Sports, his situation is sparking particularly strong reactions.
Instead of pouring over social media rumors, let's step back and look at what we know for sure. Let's all relax, take a breath and parse through the crazy.
CeCe's dad originally claimed he wouldn't let his son sign
When reporter Zach Abolverdi asked CeCe's father, Leo Jefferson, whether the letter had been sent, Leo replied, "No sir, and it's not going to. You tell The Gainesville Sun that he isn't going to fax it in. I won't let him.
"I'm a die-hard Gator fan, but personally, I want CeCe to go somewhere else," Leo said. "I wanted to get him away from home. I didn't want him in Gainesville, to tell you the truth."
Because CeCe is 19, he's required to have a legal guardian co-sign his letter of intent. We've seen these kinds of snafus before: two years ago, Alex Collins got his LOI to Arkansas in late because his mom refused to sign it.
But that doesn't seem to be the whole story...
The Jeffersons are upset that Florida's D-line coach is leaving
Rumors began floating out on Thursday afternoon that CeCe's dad wasn't actually preventing him from signing the letter, but rather taking the media hit for a son having second thoughts. Those second thoughts apparently stem from the reports that Gator defensive line coach Terrell Williams has been hired by the Miami Dolphins.
Leo sent this tweet late on Thursday afternoon:
Yes we are holding out. Florida making to many coaching changes this is not a game it's my son life— Leo Jefferson (@frog2567) February 5, 2015
A few hours later, CeCe himself sent out this tweet:
I haven't sent in my LOI because someone told me a few days before NSD that williams was leaving,why send it in without being sure ?— 7 (@cecejeferson7) February 6, 2015
CeCe says he's still a Gator
With he and his dad taking heavy flak on social media, CeCe has on multiple occasions told Florida fans he's sticking to his signing day commitment. Right after sending the tweet about Williams, CeCe sent these out:
Im a Gator my dude! Forget all these rumors that I was paid,my parents disagreed w my decision, all of that..My last tweet is whyi held out— 7 (@cecejeferson7) February 6, 2015
So to all my haters,It's still Gator Gang!— 7 (@cecejeferson7) February 6, 2015
That's reassuring to Gator fans, but the fact of the matter is that the letter still isn't in.
So are Ole Miss and Auburn still in the hunt?
There's been no real indication whether the Jeffersons are seriously considering bailing on Florida completely and jumping to another school. At his announcement, CeCe had Florida, Auburn, Ole Miss and Bama hats on the table. Most reports had the Tide as a distant fourth, so if his recruitment has indeed reopened, it's probably a three-horse race between the Gators, Tigers and Rebels.
In the end, this could very well be much ado about nothing. It certainly isn't bad news for Ole Miss, but Rebel fans shouldn't be holding their breath waiting on a miracle switch.
If you really want to read some tea leaves, though, this is the last tweet Leo Jefferson sent before his son committed:
Great exit visit with Coach Freeze— Leo Jefferson (@frog2567) January 25, 2015