Former Valdosta QB Jake Garcia reportedly looking to Grayson

Sept. 18, 2020 - Loganville, Ga: Grayson players run onto the field before their opening game against Collins Hill at Grayson High School Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Loganville. (Jason Getz/For the AJC)
Sept. 18, 2020 - Loganville, Ga: Grayson players run onto the field before their opening game against Collins Hill at Grayson High School Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Loganville. (Jason Getz/For the AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Jake Garcia, the California quarterback ruled ineligible at Valdosta after playing one game, reportedly plans to transfer to Grayson, although Grayson coach Adam Carter said the four-star recruit is not enrolled currently, and Valdosta coach Rush Propst said Garcia still is at student at Valdosta.

“I know there are rumors, but nobody has enrolled here at Grayson,” Carter said Tuesday morning. “There’s nothing I can say about a kid who doesn’t go to school here. I see there’s stuff on the internet like everyone else, but no one has come to enroll here.”

Propst said Garcia has not transferred.

“That can change, but he has not yet,” Propst said. “He is still a student at Valdosta as of today.”

Carter said that he has not spoken to Garcia or his family, but didn’t rule out that they might’ve contacted his athletic director or principal.

Garcia’s impending transfer has been reported by 247Sports and Stadium Drive Podcast, though neither identified a source.

Grayson has not submitted paperwork to have Garcia approved as a transfer, the Georgia High School Association confirmed. That process would not begin until a student enrolls.

Garcia, who left his native state when California delayed its football season until winter, would be the third high-profile player in Georgia to transfer to a second school after the Georgia High School Association ruled him ineligible at the first.

The others, both committed to Florida, are quarterback Carlos Del Rio, who transferred from McEachern, then to Cartersville, and linebacker Chief Borders, who transferred from McEachern to Carrollton, then to Heard County.

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In each case, the GHSA ruled that the first transfers didn’t satisfy GHSA guidelines for immediate eligibility. The GHSA’s bylaws require that the student move into his new school’s attendance zone before attending classes and with his entire family unit.

An athlete typically can’t quickly regain his eligibility at a school once it is lost and appeals are exhausted. But families can learn from their experiences and attempt legal moves at other schools. The GHSA has no rules against transfers joining new teams after a season has begun.

Garcia’s case was the most newsworthy among the three because of an ESPN story quoting the player’s father, Randy, as saying he and his wife legally separated in order to meet the GHSA’s requirements. The GHSA ultimately ruled against Garcia, but not before he led Valdosta to an opening victory over Warner Robins while throwing for more than 300 yards. The GHSA later made Valdosta forfeit that non-region victory.

At Grayson, Garcia would have a chance to lead a team that is ranked in the top 10 of several national polls. Grayson is 6-0 and stocked with several major Division I players including running back Phil Mafah, who committed to Clemson. Grayson’s current quarterback, junior Deyon Cannon, has been solid, throwing for 683 yards, though he’s better known as a baseball recruit.

Grayson’s projected starter this season was Del Rio, but he never gained GHSA approval and wound up at Cartersville, where he made his debut last week, coming off the bench.

Garcia, who committed to Southern Cal and plans to enroll there in January, is the consensus No. 4 pro-style quarterback prospect nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite.

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