Updated: Georgia commit Harris on IMG’s roster; Valdosta coach comments on denied eligibility

Within days of losing an appeal to win eligibility at Valdosta, four-star defensive end Gabriel Harris is on the roster of IMG Academy, a Bradenton, Fla., prep boarding school whose football team regularly fields several highly rated prospects.

IMG didn’t immediately respond to a call seeking confirmation that Harris was enrolled at the school. His name appears on IMG’s roster on MaxPreps, the most popular national website for teams to list their players.

Harris, who is committed to Georgia, transferred to Valdosta from Thomas County Central in the offseason, but the GHSA didn’t approve his eligibility, which required that he move to the Valdosta school district with his family unit. Valdosta appealed for a hardship twice but failed.

Valdosta coach Shelton Felton confirmed Thursday that Harris had left his school but wasn’t certain of his IMG enrollment, only that the player’s family was considering that option. Felton said he was disappointed in the GHSA’s decisions.

“I just believe the Georgia High School Association has to look at every situation and realize that some of these kids are having real hardships in their lives, and they need to consider that,’' Felton said. “It’s not about the school they go to but what they’re going through. Sometimes we see them as superman because of what they can do on a football field, but the reality is that they’re still kids, and they need somebody to stick up for them. We love Gabe and wish him the best.’'

Harris is rated the consensus No 233 national prospect among seniors. That would make him merely the eight-highest-rated senior player at IMG in the 247Sports Composite rankings. Several other IMG players have major Division I offers.

Georgia has seven former IMG players and one starter, Nolan Smith, on its current roster.

IMG will play games in Missouri, Utah, Alabama and Maryland this season. It’s opener is Aug. 26 against Miami Central.