football Edit

What does the CIF's HS football postponement mean for USC recruits?

USC quarterback commit Jake Garcia was set to star at La Habra High School this season.
USC quarterback commit Jake Garcia was set to star at La Habra High School this season. (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The news came down Monday not as a surprise but heavy nonetheless as the California Interscholastic Federation announced that its high school football season will now be pushed back to at least December/January.

There are 10 CIF sections and each will announce their own schedules within the parameters set forth Monday, but per the Los Angeles Times, the City Section and Southern Section both announced that football practice would begin Dec. 14, with games beginning on Jan. 8. Or, at least that's the plan as of now.

For 2021 prospects entering their senior year, that could mean no more high school football if they plan to enroll early at their college of choice.

USC expects to be able to take 10-15 early enrollees, according to our sources. Early enrollees must still fit under the overall 85-scholarship limit, so the availability is dependent on how many scholarships are open or set to come open by graduating seniors after the fall semester.

RELATED: Which USC commits plan to enroll early? We have a running list here

Programs can also count five early enrollees toward the previous year if there is room under the 25-scholarship limit applied to each recruiting class, and that is certainly available for USC as it signed only 13 prospects in the 2020 cycle. That means USC could backdate five of its 2021 early enrollees, allowing it sign more than 25 in this cycle.

But none of that changed Monday -- what changed is the potential of more prospects now deciding they aren't going to wait for a high school football season that starts in January and instead to decide to position themselves to enroll early if there is room at their college program of choice.

"The really interesting thing for all of these schools if we still have an early signing period or if we don't, a lot of these kids are going to be early enrollees at their colleges and they're going to miss their senior seasons of high school [with no fall football]. So they would sit through the fall, they would graduate, they would leave in January, their senior year of high school will [be kicking off] and they'll already be on a college campus," Rivals recruiting analyst Adam Gorney said. "And if college [football] starts in January or the spring, they would essentially be forced to take their redshirt year. They wouldn't have spring football to just kind of play through and learn the playbook and get used to the physicality of college football. They would be thrown either right on the field when they're legitimately a high school senior or be forced to redshirt, which brings up an entirely new set of problems especially for guys that are planning to early enrollee.

"It almost seems like if you're planning to and you don't want to redshirt, you should just stay in high school for the extra year because you're essentially just getting a free year to develop physically or do whatever you want to do. Because the question then becomes if they're going to play a college football season, even only conference games, then have the playoff or bowl games, they're going to finish this up in May or June, and then what, ask players to come back and have another season in the fall?"

This also isn't only a California matter, of course, as multiple other states had previously made similar decisions regarding the fall sports season. But other states are still hoping to play football this fall -- or at least haven't yet decided against it -- so that raises the other question of whether a significant number of prospects in states with no football will transfer/move to states that do have football this fall (if any end up proceeding in that way).

"I've talked to people about this and there's been every opinion in the book thrown at me about what's going to happen, including these private workout centers would form teams and go around the country playing other private centers of teams," Gorney said. "Because if the kids can be home-schooled or will have to be -- California now looks like at least 70 percent of the population of today will be [attending school online from home] -- what would stop a player from going to school during the day and then playing on a football team from Winners Circle or Ground Zero or whatever at night? There would be nothing to stop them. So every kind of scenario is [out there]. I don't think a lot of players are going to flee the state to find somewhere else to play. There will be some. I think quarterbacks could do that maybe, especially younger quarterbacks because they could always come back. But I just don't see Korey Foreman saying, 'All right I'm moving to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., or I'm going to IMG because of this. ...

"Essentially I get the sense that some players will go elsewhere, but I don't think there's going to be a mass migration out of the state. Senior year for guys is important, but I think a lot of those elite guys will just turn their focus to college and get to college as soon as possible."

With that in mind, here's some of the early reaction from USC's commits and targets regarding the news Monday.

4-star offensive line commit Mason Murphy (JSerra)

We talked to Murphy over the weekend expecting this news was coming, and here's how he said he would handle it: "Dedicate my life to the weight room, just get as strong as possible and get as fast as possible to prepare to go into the Pac-12."

4-star safety commit Anthony Beavers (Narbonne HS)

4-star safety commit Xamarion Gordon (Warren HS)

4-star QB commit Jake Garcia (La Habra HS)

4-star QB commit Miller Moss (Mater Dei HS)

5-star DE target Korey Foreman