• ainslie15

Back with Black: Diwun Black to Enroll in December




BY AINSLEE LEE

GATORBAIT COLUMNIST

Three-hundred and sixty-nine days separated the two announcements. 


On May 13, 2019, Florida signee Diwun Black was forced to swallow his pride and announce that he wouldn’t be attending the University of Florida in the fall of 2019.


However, unlike most recruits, Black’s announcement didn’t stem from a change of heart. It still hasn’t.


In today’s world of recruiting coverage, dirty laundry is never spared. In Black’s case, this meant everyone in the Twitter-verse and on recruiting forums knew that the four-star recruit was struggling in the classroom. It was widely expected that Black wouldn’t qualify for a four-year university, let alone a Top-10 public institution like the University of Florida. 


Black, a Mississippi native, spent his senior year of high school in the State of Florida trying to rectify his grades. However, when the buzzer sounded, it was too little too late. 


It was 8:49 pm when Black broke the news:


“I’m very upset right now, but I’m here to tell y’all that I will not be attending The University of Florida, instead I will be attending a community college this summer,” Black wrote on his Twitter. “Maybe to y’all I (failed), but to me I’ve (come) a long way, I wasn’t (supposed) to graduate and for me to come this far, I’m so (damn) proud of myself.”


Thirty-three minutes later, Dan Mullen replied to the former signee. 


“You know we got your back and you are a Gator,” Mullen wrote. “Keep grinding.”


With that, the message was delivered. 


Diwun Black wasn’t coming to Gainesville… yet. 


“I’m going to wipe these tears away, become a man and finish what I started,” Black continued in his post. “I’m not done yet. Still screaming Go Gators.”


One full year, a leap day and three days later, Black is still screaming “Go Gators.”


On May 16, 2020, Black once again took to Twitter just minutes before 9 pm to make an announcement. 



“4 star SS/LB Diwun Black will be attending the University of Florida this December,” Black wrote at 8:41 pm. “This kid man, I tell you, Florida is going to love him as (a) player on (the) field, but even more as a person off the field. I can promise you that. His story will be one to remember.”


In those 369 days, a lot had changed for Black.


He returned home to Mississippi, where enrolled at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. And though MGCCC is an unlikely landing spot for a top-30 recruit, Black made the most of his time there. 


With Black on the roster, the MGCCC Bulldogs finished the season undefeated—beating teams by an average of 20.5 points. 


At defensive back, Black helped the Bulldogs keep their opponent to an average under 200 yards per game and just 12.3 points per game. 


MGCCC capped off its season with its fifth national championship in a 24-13 win over Lackawanna College in the NJCAA Football Championship on December 5, 2019.


Through 12 games, Black contributed 46 total tackles and one interception -- which was returned for a touchdown. 


As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. 


And in this situation, it’s undoubtedly a two-way street. 


The gains for Black are glaring. 


In waiting, he earned himself a second chance. He earned himself a JUCO National Championship. And he earned himself the respect from Gator Nation that most players never receive, let alone recruits. 


Meanwhile, in Gainesville, Dan Mullen and the Gators are gearing up to have 247Sports’ 2021 top-rated JUCO player in the country on campus. But perhaps more importantly, they’re about to be on the receiving end of a deal that gifts them a player that has already bought into the culture of the program. 


There were a lot of unknowns about Black’s academic situation in 2019. But you’d have to be naive to believe that he couldn’t get into ANY Division I school. 


The reality is, he didn’t want to. 


On May 13, 2019, Diwun Black was still screaming “Go Gators.”


In the 369 days that followed, Diwun Black was still screaming “Go Gators.”


On May 16, 2020, Diwun Black was still screaming “Go Gators.”


And in the three years of eligibility that Black has left, you can bet that he will still be screaming “Go Gators.”

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