For eight months, Aaron Robinson believed he was going to be a Florida Gator.
And for eight months, so did the Gators.
But on Wednesday morning, the nation’s 57th-ranked cornerback dropped his pledge to Florida and signed with national-champion Alabama in one of the more stunning flips on National Signing Day.
“I switched to Alabama because I felt everything coach [Nick] Saban and my recruiting coach, coach [Mario] Cristobal, were saying about my future,” Robinson told The Miami Herald. “I felt like they cared more about my future than anyone else. I felt I was in good hands.”
The Gators also dropped the ball, according to Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn. He said Florida coach Jim McElwain never had an in-home visit with Robinson even after Robinson knew McElwain was in town and had visited two other local recruits in Plantation American Heritage’s Brian Burns and Miami Southwest High’s C.J. McWilliams.
“Coach McElwain not coming to visit me, knowing I’m a Florida commit, it actually took a big part of me and my mother,” Robinson said. “We didn’t like it at all. It wasn’t the best thing. I didn’t feel secure after that.”
Three-star safety James Pierre stuck with his commitment to North Carolina, passing on the hometown Miami Hurricanes, who made a late push for him and Robinson after Mark Richt’s new coaching staff took over.
Pierre said he made his final decision Tuesday night.
“[Richt] was telling me they had spots available, but I felt like I should stick with North Carolina,” Pierre said. “Since Day One they talked to me like family and everything. They taught me all the basics, and I love the environment at Chapel Hill.
“It was very hard for me. Leaving home, I’m not that kind of travel guy. But I’ve got to see new things, do big things.”
The Bucks, who already sent four-star receiver Riley Ridley to the University of Georgia last month, had four other players sign Wednesday.
Safety Simeon Brown, who led Broward County with eight interceptions in 2015, signed with Bethune-Cookman over offers from Ball State and Southeastern Missouri.
Receiver Jefftey Joseph signed with Virginia Union; kicker Jefferson Souza with Alcorn State and offensive lineman Mike Smith signed with ASA-Brooklyn College.
Deerfield Beach’s 2017 and 2018 classes are loaded with high-end prospects, including junior receiver/cornerback Jerry Jeudy, a Miami Herald All-Broward first-team selection.
Glenn said new Hurricanes defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and defensive backs coach Mike Rumph are already coming hard at those players.
“They made a hard charge late at Pierre and Robinson,” Glenn said. “But there was intrigue. Coach Rumph is a great guy. But I think at the end it was a little too late.
“The old staff with Golden actually never offered Aaron. They’re all over our next two classes. I’m very excited about it.”