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The latest pandemic trend: Elite high school football players moving states to play this fall

Jake Garcia is the senior quarterback at La Habra High School in La Habra, Calif., in between Los Angeles and Anaheim. Or, he was. Not anymore.

Like every California high school football player, Garcia was sidelined when the state's high school governing body announced it will push the season to the spring. A high 4-star recruit in the class of 2021, Garcia plans to enroll at USC in January, and he wasn't going to roll into the Trojans' locker room not having played competitive football for the entire 2020 calendar year.

So, he's moving. Cross country.

Garcia has left La Habra and will play his senior year at powerhouse Valdosta High School in Georgia.

“I’ve been talking to my parents about going out-of-state if something happened and we weren’t able to play and I’m just fortunate enough that my parents are able to sacrifice and put me in a situation so I can develop for another year,” Garcia told Trojan Sports. “It’s going to be the biggest jump for me from my junior to senior year so I’m very excited.

“It’s a great opportunity to experience a different way of life, a slower pace of life and just focus on ball for a semester.”

He won't be alone.

"Currently I'm looking into moving out of state to go play my senior season," said Terrance Ferguson, a 3-star Oregon tight end commit out of Heritage High in Littleton, Colo. "I've been grinding in the offseason and working very hard and I feel like I deserve another season."

If Ferguson is looking for a new destination, he might able to hitch a ride with one of his neighbors. Jake Rubley, a 4-star quarterback at Highlands Ranch High in Littleton, told the Denver Posthe's contemplating a move to Iowa.

“If you have a choice about where to live, one state is playing football and one state’s not,” TJ Rubley, Jake's father, told the paper. “(Jake) wants to play. He’s worked his tail off, he’s worked very hard to do the things he’s been able to do. He’s still getting better and he needs a lot of work, but it’s a pretty simple decision.”

The twist here is TJ Rubley is not only Jake's dad, he's also the Highlands Ranch head coach. The Rubleys believe two Highlands Ranch teammates may join him.

“My perspective as a parent is you have to go where they’re serious about playing football,” he said.

The Denver Post story was published Monday, before Colorado's high school association had officially made a ruling on a fall season one way or the other. On Tuesday, the CHSAA pushed the season to the spring.

The rub here is that all three seniors listed by name already have Power 5 scholarships locked up. (Rubley is a K-State commit.) Think of the desperation that uncommitted and un-offered recruits must be feeling if their senior season won't happen until after the February signing period comes and goes -- if it happens at all.

“They need to have film,” Jake Rubley told the Post. “If they play in the spring those rosters are going to be filled up at those Division I schools, and they’re trying to get their school paid for and play at the next level, so it’s going to be huge for them to get film and play some pretty good talent.”