Quarterback AJ Duffy is leaving Rancho Verde for IMG Academy

Rancho Verde quarterback AJ Duffy (and his father, coach Pete Duffy.
Rancho Verde quarterback AJ Duffy, left, and his father, coach Pete Duffy. AJ is transferring to IMG Academy in Florida.
(Duffy family)

With uncertainty over coronavirus sports restrictions in California, standout junior quarterback AJ Duffy of Rancho Verde has decided to transfer to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., in February, said his father, Rancho Verde coach Pete Duffy.

It was a difficult family decision, since Pete has been training his son for years, but the opportunity to receive top training in Florida and not knowing whether there will be a high school football season anytime soon led to AJ accepting the offer to play for IMG.

“With the uncertainty, there doesn’t seem to be a great chance to play this year and gyms aren’t open to train,” Pete said. “He’s made good strides with what I’ve been able to do with him, but if the goal is to be the best player you can be and have the ability to have the best training available, why not do it?”

Duffy has more than 35 college scholarship offers. He has been starting at Rancho Verde since he was a freshman and helped the team to an 11-1 record in 2019.


The California high school football season for 2020 was originally delayed in July until January because of the coronavirus pandemic, but everything is on hold. The Southern Section commissioner, Rob Wigod, has said practices would need to start by Feb. 15 for a season to begin in March and would end no later than April 17.

Duffy is the latest top quarterback to decide to pass up on the upcoming season. Former Narbonne quarterback Jake Garcia is playing for a state championship Wednesday in Georgia. Bishop Alemany quarterback Miller Moss is enrolling at USC. Sierra Canyon quarterback Chayden Peery is leaving next month for Georgia Tech. Mission Viejo’s Peter Costelli is enrolling at Utah in January.

After more than 40 years of playing tournaments during Christmas, coach Ed Azzam adjusts to COVID-19 restrictions.

Dec. 27, 2020