CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Illinois tight end Luke Ford, a transfer from Georgia, will not be eligible to play this season after the NCAA upheld the denial of his request for a waiver.

The NCAA initially denied Ford's request in April, but the school appealed. Illinois announced Friday the appeal had been denied.

Ford was one of the top recruits in the state of Illinois and a highly regarded national prospect 2018. In January, Ford posted on Twitter he was leaving Georgia for Illinois because of his ''grandparents' deteriorating health'' and the cost for his parents to watch him play. He is from tiny Carterville, Illinois, about two hours southeast of St. Louis.

Ford will be eligible to play in 2020.

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