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March 31, 2006TAMPA, Fla.- Jefferson High quarterback Stephen Garcia is one of the top dual-threat signal callers in the Southeast. On Friday, he gave an exclusive interview to Rivals.com where he talked about his current leader, his plans for the spring and what makes him one of the most coveted prospects coming out of Hillsborough County, Fla., in the class of 2007.
"A lot of schools are very interested right now," Garcia said. "Especially Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina."
The Gators have jumped out to an early lead.
"I like Florida so far right now," he said. "They are at the top of my list right now."
The 6-foot-3, 214-pounder can see himself running the Gators' spread-option attack.
"I like their offense," he said. "Dan Mullen, their offensive coordinator says I run it perfect.
Mullen and Rivals.com top 25 recruiter Stan Drayton are the Florida recruiters of record for Garcia.
Garcia took an unofficial visit to Georgia this past weekend and the Bulldogs also are in the mix.
"I like coach Mark Richt a lot," he said. "It was a great town. Everyone there was real laid back."
And though the Gators lead, Garcia actually grew up a fan of another in-state school.
"(I pulled for) Florida State," he said. "But that's just because my uncle went there."
Garcia doesn't think he will make an early decision, but is contemplating graduating early (in December of this year) so he can enroll in time for spring practice at his school of choice. If he decides to go that route, his time table could be moved up.
"The schools that I have been to, that's what is happening," Garcia said. "At Georgia, Matthew Stafford is already there and Florida has already got Tim Tebow so they say that's the best way to go right now is to graduate early so you can get into the system early."
While he is a tremendous athlete that can hurt opposing defenses with both his strong arm and running ability, Garcia feels that his work ethic is what sets him apart.
"I don't think anybody out-works me at all," he said. "I do whatever I possibly can to be the best I can possibly be. My team helps me out a lot, too."
His team helped him amass 2,800 yards passing and 700 yards rushing in 2005. He also threw for 28 touchdowns and ran for another seven.
Garcia plans to major in Anthropology or History.
Garcia is planning on attending the Gainesville NIKE Camp on May 20 on the campus of the University of Florida and hopes to take part in the Elite 11 camp this summer.