One of Florida’s biggest offseason decisions was when wide receiver Ricky Pearsall decided to give up the NFL for another year and return to the Swamp.
Part of that decision was financial. Players were now able to make money equivalent to what a late-round pick might receive in college, and in most cases prevented underclassmen from declaring early. signed a deal with the Gator Collective this week, but said it’s unlikely compensation for the name, image and likeness didn’t influence the decision.
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Pearsall’s deal came at a time when he was expected to take over as Florida’s leading receiver. Justin Shorter has moved to the NFL and Xavier Henderson is the only returning receiver with significant playing time under his belt. Pearsall could be the star of the quarterback slot that Florida will eventually get as a starter in 2023.
The Gator Collective is focused on compensating current Gators rather than new players, and Pearsall’s numbers confirm that he’s getting the spotlight. He led the team in 2022 with 661 yards and five touchdowns, and finished second with 33 receptions.
The NIL deal with Gator Collective wasn’t the only reason Pearsall was back, but it certainly made the decision easier.
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