The University of Florida decided to withdraw its scholarship offer from four-star quarterback recruit Marcus Stokes of Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, due to the discovery of a video that shows Stokes using the N-word.
Sixteen years ago, the Gators signed a top quarterback prospect from Nease high school, and it turned out to be one of the best signings in the university’s history. Dual-threat quarterback Tim Tebow had a legendary career, leading the University of Florida Gators to a pair of NCAA national championship victories during the 2006 and 2008 college football seasons.
With the hope of returning to the well to duplicate the same type of success, Florida was prepared to offer Marcus Stokes an athletic scholarship. Stokes was the only quarterback in the Gator’s 2023 class until November 11, when Jaden Rashada flipped his commitment from Miami to Florida.
Like any other top collegiate prospect, the 6 foot 2, 190-pound Stokes had several options regarding collegiate programs he could sign with. After visiting State College, Pennsylvania, in April, Stokes made a verbal commitment to Penn State University, but three months later, he had a change of heart, as he decided to flip his commitment from Penn State to the University of Florida.
Stokes was set to officially become a member of Florida’s 2023 class until a controversial video of the college recruit was discovered on November 19. While sitting in his car listening to music, Stokes posted a video on his social media page. During the two-second video, the college recruit can be heard singing the lyric, “Welcome back, n***a.”
Marcus Stokes, a Caucasian male, received immediate backlash for the video, and a short time later, the University of Florida announced that they rescinded their scholarship offer. Stokes apologized, and he also stated the fact that he respects Florida’s decision.
The University of Florida hasn’t commented because, per NCAA rules, universities are not allowed to publicly comment about a recruiting prospect until they have signed with the school. However, Marcus Stokes went on social media via Twitter to post an explanation and a public apology.
“I was in my car listening to rap music, rapping along with the words, and posted a video of it on social media. I deeply apologize for the words I chose to say in the song. It was hurtful and offensive to many people, and I regret that.”
Stokes went on to state, “I fully accept the consequences for my actions, and I respect the University of Florida’s decision to withdraw my scholarship offer to play football. My intention was never to hurt anybody, and I recognize that even when going along with a song, my words still carry a lot of weight.”
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