Perhaps Houshun Gaines has never heard of San Diego Chargers linebacker Manti Te'o's notorious "Catfish" victimization while he was at Notre Dame in 2012, or perhaps he has and simply never thought such a thing could happen to him. Either way, the high school recruit apparently didn't have his guard up for an online impostor who convinced him to commit to play football for the Florida Gators.
Gaines thought he'd received an offer from the UF coaching staff when he'd apparently only been communicating with a practical joker.
Gaines is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound defensive end from Rocky Mount (N.C.) Nash Central High. According to the Rocky Mount Telegram, Gaines believed for six weeks that he had been communicating via social media with Florida assistant coach Brad Lawing. Gaines committed to the Gators, and even held a celebratory ceremony at his high school. But Gaines was "Catfished," according to Nash Central athletic director Michael Mosley.
"When I talked to a coach, they told me they hadn't spoken to Gaines in several weeks," Mosley said. "I think he was talking to someone he thought was a coach. I guess he said (on Friday) that he had talked to a coach the night before, but they said he hadn't talked to anybody on the coaching staff."
For all the embarrassment, Gaines took the incident in good-natured stride.
According to Mosley, UF coaches told him they remain interested in recruiting Gaines, but want to "see more from him" before extending a formal scholarship offer.