A few factors played into the decision, but Dejon Jernagin has finally decided the best decision for his two youngest sons is for the family to move back to Southern California.
Jernagin told The Californian on Wednesday that his sons, Isaac and Ian Jernagin, will leave Bakersfield High and enroll at Santa Margarita High in Orange County later this month.
Jernagin, a native of Pasadena, said he and his wife, Shelly, who grew up in Long Beach, wanted to move back down south to be closer to Shelly’s parents, but envisioned that time frame coming after Isaac’s senior year this coming season.
Then, Jernagin said, Paul Golla’s departure from BHS to Garces helped expedite the move.
“We made the decision when coach Golla left. We looked at the possibility of moving back to L.A.,” Dejon Jernagin said. “My wife’s parents are getting up there, so we decided this was the best time to do it. We were thinking about doing it going into Ian’s junior year. We are just a year ahead of schedule.”
Isaac Jernagin, a rising senior, has been one of the top wide receiver recruits in California with 12 offers from programs like USC, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Arizona State and was recently selected to participate in The Opening next month in Eugene, Ore. Jernagin would have become just the second Kern County selection to the elite summer football showcase after former Liberty linebacker Krys Barnes was selected in 2015. The only other Central Section selection this season is Kendall Milton, a nationally-recruited running back at Clovis-Buchanan.
Ian, a rising sophomore, already has garnered offers from Nevada and Arizona.
“They visited the program at Rancho Santa Margarita and it was something that they were accustomed to with coach Golla,” Dejon Jernagin said. “And now in the Trinity League, they get to play in an elite league and the average GPA at the school is 3.9. They get to be put in the best situation both academically and athletically.”
Santa Margarita went 3-7 overall in 2018 and 0-5 in Trinity League play, widely considered the toughest high school football league with the likes of Bellflower-St. John Bosco, Santa Ana-Mater Dei and San Juan Capistrano-JSerra all ranked in the top-20 nationally by CalPreps.com. Mater Dei and St. John Bosco finished last season as the top-two ranked teams in the United States.
“Some would say it’s just football, but for us it’s more. It’s part of our life goal,” Dejon Jernagin said. “We just didn’t feel right with the situation moving forward there. That was a factor, as well.”
The oldest of the three sons, Isaiah, graduated from BHS last week and will play on scholarship at Cal Poly next season.
Burkhart out of the season
Like a bad scene in a movie, Stockdale rising senior Evan Burkhart was down in Southern California on Saturday competing in a non-contact football clinic in front of dozens of college coaches. Burkhart was a shining star and quickly caught the eye of Arizona State coach Herm Edwards.
Burkhart’s dad, Darren, said his wife, Lisa, was in attendance when Edwards requested Burkhart, who was impressing the coach, to run one more route.
Then Burkhart stepped on an opposing players foot while running a route and tore the ACL in his left knee.
“He just planted, turned and that foot never released and tore the ACL. A total freak accident. No contact, just a twisting motion,” Darren Burkhart said. “When he went down, every head coach from the schools went over there to make him and my wife, Lisa, feel better.”
Burkhart, who led Stockdale to the Division II section semifinals as the quarterback in 2018, will have surgery later this month and will miss his senior season.
Burkhart, a wide receiver recruit at the college level, converted to quarterback last season in the third game and finished with 991 passing yards and 10 touchdowns and ran for another 877 yards and 10 more scores.
Despite the injury, Burkhart has interest from Arizona State, San Diego State, Nevada, Wyoming and Cal Poly but still no offers, at this time.
"This has totally crushed him,” Darren Burkhart said. “But it was just an accident and one of those things.”