Palm Harbor University linebacker John Tauber has transferred to IMG Academy, the second Hurricane player to bolt for the first-year program this offseason.
Tauber’s father emailed the Tampa Bay Times to announce the move.
The senior is the fifth PHU player to transfer this offseason. Fullback/linebacker Connor Dorris and wide receiver/defensive back Demetri Royer both left to go to Clearwater Central Catholic. Backup quarterback Brevet Killett went to Gibbs.
Tauber started for the Hurricanes last year and was going to be used as a running back in jumbo packages had he stayed. He leaves to join former PHU receiver Shane Dixon, who transferred to IMG in March.
The loss of several starters puts a dent in the Hurricanes postseason hopes. But PHU coach Matt LePain has filled in holes before. Last year, the Hurricanes made the playoffs for the second straight season despite graduating nearly every skill player.
“All this does is open the door for someone who wants to be at Palm Harbor University the opportunity to play,” LePain said.
A few other bay area players have transferred to IMG, notably Tampa Bay Tech offensive lineman Tyree St. Luis.
IMG, which catered mostly to aspiring golf and tennis players, has expanded its high school programs in recent years with the addition of baseball and basketball. The football program, coached by former Heisman Trophy winner and FSU quarterback Chris Weinke, begins play in a new 10,000-seat stadium.