The top junior running back in Central Florida is transferring.
Daytona Beach Seabreeze star Treyvaughn “Trey” Rodriguez, ranked No. 3 in the Sentinel’s 2014 Central Florida Super60, said Thursday he will enroll at cross-town Mainland High on Friday. The transfer was confirmed by his father Hector Rodriguez Sr.
Rodriguez, who rushed for 925 yards and 10 touchdowns on 114 carries this past season, will be eligible to play spring ball for the Buccaneers.
To hear Rodriguez explain why he is transferring is still difficult to understand.
Even Rodriguez struggled to put into words the reasoning behind the move.
“Nothing against [Coach Marc Beach] or Seabreeze at all,” Trey said. “I just feel like I need to change my whole life around and I feel like going there will change it.
"Honestly, I've messed up a lot at Seabreeze ... nothing huge or anything like that, but I just feel like I need to make a change."
Plenty of change has entered his life recently. He became the 16-year-old father to a baby girl in November. His girlfriend and mother of his child is also 16. He's not, however, pointing to the birth of Alia Taylor Rodriguez as the reason for needing change. It's more like he's searching for a comfort level.
"It really has nothing to do with my daughter," said Rodriguez, who had first considered making a change by moving south to Port St. Lucie to live with his father, Hector Rodriguez Sr., and enroll at Treasure Coast High School.
He couldn't bring himself to do that, however.
" I'd be upset 'cause I can't see my daughter every day. I always want to see my daughter at all times," Rodriguez said. "I've been going through a lot lately ... I've been thinking about a lot.
"But changing to Mainland, it's a good change for me cause honestly, now all I think about is what can I do for my daughter to not have to go through anything I had to go though. I want to make it where I can have her set up with everything she needs, have college money set up and everything set up perfect. She is my top priority."
And he said a move to Mainland would put him in a more comfortable environment among friends he has known since he was younger.
"I played Pop Warner in Daytona and my best friend played Pop Warner with me ... almost everybody I played with goes to Mainland. I want to go to Mainland to finish what I started," Rodriguez said. "D.J. Copeland, he's my best friend. He plays DB at Mainland. He's like a my brother and I'd rather just finish it out with somebody like that who, like, has my back and I got his back and we'll go through something together that we'll never forget ... forever."
It wasn't easy for his father to give his blessing to the transfer.
“I dealt with this with Hector Jr. when he was that age. He went to Flagler Palm Coast but he wanted to go to Mainland and I wouldn’t let him. I said, ‘You live in Flagler you go to Flagler Palm Coast.’ I wasn’t all about this transferring to win a championship and all that stuff," Hector Sr. said.
But Hector Jr. remembers the time when he wanted to transfer and he wanted to make sure his father was not going to do the same thing with his younger brother.
“He called the other day and told me his brother’s heart wasn’t in it. He said, ‘Dad, if his heart isn’t in it, you have to let him go and let him deal with the consequences if it doesn’t work out,’ ” said the father. “This is my 22-year-old son telling me this and it really hit me. I can look back and see how it affected Hector Jr."
Trey had already confided in his father, searching for answers yet knowing he had to make the choices himself.
“I support my son. He told me the other day, he said, “Dad, my heart’s not at Seabreeze anymore.' “ Hector Sr. said. “He wants to play at Mainland, his heart is at Mainland. He lives around all those guys and he wants to play with all his friends.
“I told him good or bad, he has to live with his decision. It’s his decision.”
Left in the aftermath are the people at Seabreeze, like Beach, who said Thursday he was aware of the rumors but, so far, none of his players had left school.
“Well ... they’re still in school today, I can tell you that ... but I’ve heard the same thing. I can’t worry about all that stuff. I have enough to worry about,” Beach said.
Beach, one of the most respected and successful coaches in Central Florida, was lauded by Rodriguez Sr.
“Marc Beach has been a blessing to my son. The Seabreeze program has been a blessing to my son,” Hector Sr. said. “This has nothing to do with Mainland winning more or Mainland being better. This is just about Treyvaughn and what’s in his heart.”
Trey Rodriguez had to break the news to his coach, certainly not an easy task.
"Yeah, Coach Beach was pretty upset about it," Trey Rodriguez said. "I never thought it would go this way. I always thought I'd graduate from Seabreeze.
"He's not mad at us, I don't think. Coach is just more hurt about it, which I understand ... but this is just a better decision for me."
Also left behind at Seabreeze will be fellow top prospect ATH Charles Nelson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury midway through the season.
"Me and Charles, we're pretty close. He was with us too back then in Pop Warner, too," Trey said. "I still love him the same. He's just like my brother too. We're friends but we're not close, close friends like me and D.J. ... D.J.’s always been there like my family. His house is like my second home. Any day, anytime I can show up 'cause his mom cares for me like my God mom. She's been there for me too."
Trey Rodriguez lives in Daytona with his mother.
"I told her I wanted to transfer she didn't really say anything," Trey said. "I'm pretty sure she talked to my dad about it. I'm sure she's cool about it."
He said he has no idea if Mainland head coach Scott Wilson knows he is planning to transfer.
"I'm pretty excited to talk to him and let him know," Trey said. "I'll be really committed to the team with 100 percent effort, just like for Seabreeze."
Rodriguez already has four scholarship offers from Boston College, Memphis, Temple and Wake Forest. It appeared Florida was close last fall, but the Gators still have not offered.