CHAMPAIGN — The NCAA denied a waiver for Illinois tight end Luke Ford to become immediately eligible, Ford said in a tweet on Wednesday.
The Carterville native transferred from the University of Georgia to the University of Illinois to play closer to home, citing his grandfather's deteriorating health.
"My Waiver got denied ... Thanks for all your support. It's all in the Lord's timing," the tweet read.
My Waiver got denied... Thanks for all your support😔 It’s all in the Lord’s timing🙏🏽— L U K E F O R D™️ (@lukeredx97) April 24, 2019
Ford, was the state's top-ranked prospect in the Class of 2018 and the No. 3 tight end in the country according to 247Sports, caught one pass for four yards for the Bulldogs. He's a 6-foot-6, 252-pounder and played in nine of 13 games at Georgia last season.
"We’re all disappointed Luke Ford’s waiver request for immediate eligibility was denied," Illinois spokesperson Kent Brown said. "There is an appeal process that we intend help Luke explore.”
Per NCAA rules, Ford will sit out the 2019 season and be eligible for the 2020 year.
Earlier this offseason the NCAA granted waivers to quarterbacks Justin Fields, who transferred from Georgia to Ohio State and Tate Martell, who transferred from Ohio State to Miami.