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By Zach Cavanagh

After changing his mind about attending San Diego State in January, San Clemente High alumnus Jack Sears is essentially a college free agent and went on a Division 1 recruiting tour last week.

Sears, the Tritons’ 2016 CIF-SS champion quarterback, announced his intent to transfer from USC in August and entered the NCAA’s transfer portal. Sears earned his USC degree and retained two years of playing eligibility to be used as a graduate transfer.

Sears had signed a grant-in-aid with San Diego State in December, but after a coaching change by the Aztecs, Sears did not show up for the first week of classes at San Diego State that began on Jan. 21.

Unlike the national letter of intent that a high school player signs with a school, a grant-in-aid is only binding to the university if the player attends the university. With Sears not attending a class or workout with San Diego State, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound quarterback is back on the transfer market.

After a quiet February, Sears reportedly began his recruiting tour on March 2-3 at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., according to 247Sports. Sears took in a Wildcats practice on March 3, but his path to Northwestern may have taken a hit when former Indiana starting quarterback Peyton Ramsey announced his transfer to Northwestern on March 9.

Sears next went to the ACC’s University of Virginia in Charlottesville on March 4, according to 247Sports. The Cavaliers are looking for a new signal-caller after the graduation of Bryce Perkins, who was a two-year starter after transferring from Arizona Western Community College. Redshirt sophomore Brennan Armstrong looks like the next in line, but Armstrong attempted only 20 passes last season.

Sears then went to the ACC’s North Carolina State in Raleigh on March 5 and took in the Wolfpack’s morning practice. NC State could be an interesting spot for Sears with new offensive coordinator Tim Beck, who held the same position most recently at Texas after stints at Ohio State and Nebraska. As a redshirt freshman, Devin Leary stepped in for NC State midway through last season to complete 48.1% of his passes for 1,219 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games, but Leary was 0-5 as a starter.

Sears has not commented on the transfer process anywhere since his initial announcement of his intent to transfer from USC on Aug. 27 on Twitter.

Sears started only one game at USC as a redshirt freshman in 2018. Sears completed 20 of 28 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns, but USC fell to Arizona State, 38-35. Prior to the 2019 season, Sears was bumped down to No. 4 on the Trojans’ depth chart and shortly thereafter announced his entrance into the transfer portal.

Zach Cavanagh

Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at

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