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The Prospector: Does transferring hurt or help the student-athlete?

Transfers have popped up all over the Orlando Sentinel scenery during spring practice and it always begs a few questions:

How is it that this person came to transfer out of district and into a different school?

And also, does a transfer in the middle of a player's high school career end up hurting him in the long run with the recruiting process.

For those who transfer under shady circumstances, the rules can sometimes end up going to the top for a ruling by the Florida High School Athletic Association. Each case has basic rules applied and the rule enforcement will be based on fact, if officials can get the facts.

Of course, that's not easy, but the FHSAA is always able to come out with some common ground on the situation enough to present an accurate assessment.

But does this bouncing around to different schools actually help the individual players? Again, this is a case-by-case scenario. Take last season, for instance. RB Shontrelle Johnson transferred from Crescent City to DeLand, and after recruiting violations were all cleared during an investigation, Johnson eventually went on to help DeLand to the state title game, in which they lost to Miramar.

Johnson pulled in all kinds of offers, Florida, Iowa State, Northwestern and several others.

"It definitely helped," Johnson said late last year. "Going from a 2B school all the way up to 6A, that's what it's all about. I got to see a lot better competition."

This year there are a handful of transfers already in uniforms and ready to play, taking part in spring ball.

The most talked about transfer is 6-foot-2, 205-pound running back Jarius Pace. He was a solid running back at East Ridge in 2008, running for 261 yards and 6 touchdowns on 40 carries. Last year he transferred to Olympia, and the FHSAA caught up to him. Or, East Ridge boosters may have also had something to do with the FSHAA being alerted (We'll never know).

Regardless of who told whom, the FSHAA ruled Pace as ineligible and the Titans had to forfeit the three games Pace played in and he'll also serve the same suspension into the first two games of next season.

"Week 3," he said with a big smile. You can see excitement on his face when he says it.

Individually, the transfer should help Pace as he joins one of the most talented quarterbacks the area's ever seen in prospect Kevin Sousa. He did it all for Lake Nona last season , throwing for 1, 346 yards and 8 touchdowns and also rushed for just over 900 yards and had 5 touchdowns.

"I think it's a way better opportunity here than the other schools I've been to," Pace said about Lake Nona. "The other schools, they're real good, but over here it's more of an academic process that I'm going through to try to get my grades up. I think it's the right place."

Pace has scholarship offers from Texas Tech, FAU, FAMU and Memphis, so far.

Also popping up at a different school is Chris Gallon, who probably didn't fair as well as he would have liked at Oviedo last year, considering that UCF-bound quarterback Blake Bortles was throwing the balls. Nonetheless, Gallon is in a Dr. Phillips uniform this year looking to fill the shoes left by FSU-bound Kenny Shaw.

"I'm transferring to Dr. Phillips, I think that's very good for me," Gallon said in January. "I'm having some family issues and I'm trying to do what's best for me."

Gallon had his first scholarship offer last week with Memphis extending an invite and also picked up offers from Colorado State and FAMU on Tuesday.

A loaded Dr. Phillips defense also has another transfer in former West Orange LB Jabar Brown in practice this spring, while the Panthers just picked up another transfer in ex-Olympia WR Zach Durham.

One transfer who has had one season and a spring practice under his belt now is Dominique Rouse at Winter Park. Rouse will be one of the go-to guys for big Winter Park quarterback Sam Richardson this coming season.

"It was kind of hard adjusting to the Winter Park lifestyle, but after two year I gained some friends ... me an the quarterback got real close and so the chemistry just started working," said Rouse, who was at Apopka before transferring. "Things have worked out a lot better for me a Winter Park."

One transfer we'll definitely be keeping an eye on is quarterback Matt Flynn, who goes from Lake Mary to Lyman High looking to continue as a starter like he was with the Rams.

Other transfers of note (and we will be missing a few, for sure) are: Jamal Massey (6-3, 250, OL) who transferred to Jones from Apopka; Stew Butler, who transferred from Lakeland to Oviedo last year, transferred back to Lakeland after the football season; Lawrence Campbell (6-4, 205, DE) goes from Leesburg to Groveland South Lake; and quarterback Shelton Willis transferred to Daytona Beach Mainland from South Daytona Beach Warner Christian.

Send notes of other transfers to the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator Chris Hays at chays@orlandosentinel.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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