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Prep football transfer rules spur major debate

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Gurvan Hall (center) announced his transfer from Palm Beach Lakes to Palm Beach Gardens this week.

It's summertime - do you know where your kids are?

That's the question that a lot of high school football coaches are asking.

With the new transfer rules in the FHSAA, players can change schools right up until the start of the fall season.

With a top recruit in the county making the change this week, the question of whether this rule benefits the players, is still up for debate.

"The grass is not always greener on the other side," says Glades Central Head Coach Jessie Hester, at the Wells Recreation Center in Riviera Beach for the Team E.L.A.M. 7-on-7 Tournament.

Hester has been tied in with high school football in Palm Beach County for a long time and he admits the new transfer rules have created a new atmosphere around the game.

"The new rule change is challenging, we lost a top kid as well."

As did Al Shipman at Palm Beach Lakes - losing the top recruit in the county just this week to Palm Beach Gardens.

Gurvan Hall is all ready committed to the University of Miami, and has dozens upon dozens of other offers. But he said he just wanted a new challenge. "It's great to be around different kids that have the same talent as you."

NFL free agent Matt Elam, also transferred from Palm Beach Lakes, finishing his high school career at Dwyer - a decision he does not regret.

"I don't want anybody to transfer or leave their schools but it was an opportunity that I had to take advantage of," says Elam. "The environment I was in was not going to make me who I am today. Going to Dwyer was a great decision for my family. It got me where I needed to be."

But Chicago Bears Cornerback and Belle Glade native Cre'Von LeBlanc says there can be a downside for the players to these transfer rules.

"You don't want to keep hopping from school to school because you'll never be stable," says LeBlanc. "You never learn the game from running from problems. For every struggle, there will be a reward, so why not go through the process? The process is not going to be easy."

Despite the change, the coaches say, it's not going to change how they go about their business.

"We've benefited by the transfer rule and have been hurt by it," says Dwyer head coach Jack Daniels. "If a kid doesn't want to be at your school, let them go play where they want to play."

"You have to stick to your convictions about who you are as a coach," adds Hester. "And coach the kids that want to be there."

And then hope they show up, when practice begins in the fall.

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