Photo: Frank Niemeir / AJC
Photo: Frank Niemeir / AJC

GHSA denies 2 Marietta football stars’ eligibility appeals

Two major college football recruits from Marietta High School lost appeals Tuesday to have their 2018 eligibility restored by the Georgia High School Association.

Rashad Torrence and Dawson Ellington, junior defensive backs who have multiple offers from SEC and ACC schools, were declared ineligible to participate in sports at any GHSA member for one year last month because they had not made required bona-fide moves in residence that waive the one-year sit-out rule that applies to transfers.

The two played last season ‘’under false pretenses,’’ according to the GHSA, because of what the GHSA found were false transfer documents filed by Marietta High School to the GHSA last year. Marietta has not disputed that the documents were inaccurate. The GHSA forced Marietta to forfeit its eight 2017 football victories and fined the school $1,500.

It has not been shown that the players or their families knowingly violated any rules or knew of the document inaccuracies. Shortly after the July ruling, Marietta reassigned athletics director Paul Hall and later hired Andy Dorsey to take his place. 

In transfer documents filed to the GHSA, Marietta reported that each player had a parent who worked at the high school, which would have made them immediately eligible. Instead, each had a parent who worked in the school system, but not the high school, the GHSA discovered.

Ellington, Torrence and a third player not on the 2017 roster, Jalen Hardy, were denied their appeals Tuesday at the GHSA offices in Thomaston by the four-member committee consisting of Glenn Tidwell, Geep Cunningham, David Shields and Rendell Jackson.

The father of one of the players has hired an attorney.

“None of the information that was provided by the student athlete was inaccurate, but he ultimately is the one being punished,” Kimani King told an Atlanta TV station.

Torrence had 80 solo tackles last season for the Blue Devils, who made the Class AAAAAAA quarterfinals, their best finish since 1994. He also scored four touchdowns as a reserve running back. Torrence is a four-star recruit and top-300 senior prospect nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite ratings. He has reported offers from Alabama and Clemson. He played his freshman season at Carrollton.

Ellington, a cornerback, had 20 solo tackles last season. He is a three-star recruit with 13 Division I offers, according to 247Sports. He played his freshman season at Woodward Academy in 2016. 

Marietta is expected to be a leading contender this season. The team is ranked No. 15 nationally in preseason by MaxPreps.

Marietta’s first game is Thursday, Aug. 16, at defending Class AAAAA champion Rome in the opening day of the Corky Kell Classic.

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