Desmond Harrison cleared to play
AUSTIN, Texas -- Desmond Harrison has been cleared by the NCAA to play for Texas this season.
A Texas spokesperson confirmed to ESPN.com that Harrison has been fully cleared to practice and play for the Longhorns, bringing an end to an eligibility issue that had sidelined the junior college transfer for two weeks.
The verdict from the NCAA comes one day after Texas officials elected to let Harrison resume practicing with the team for the first time since Aug. 5. He participated in his second fall practice with the Longhorns on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-8, 310-pound offensive tackle had been held out after BYU had attempted to invalidate a credit Harrison received for an independent study course from the school. He used the three-hour credit to graduate from Contra Costa College in California.
That was brought to BYU's attention earlier this month, and the school reportedly rejected an appeal by Texas last week due to its policy that student-athletes from schools other than BYU are not allowed to enroll in BYU independent study courses.
Texas considered this an issue between BYU and Contra Costa College but planned to submit an appeal to the NCAA. The decision Wednesday to fully clear Harrison ends the matter.
Harrison joined the Texas program in July and remains enrolled in summer courses. He's expected to compete for the Longhorns' starting left tackle job and will have his first full-pads practice next Tuesday.
"I'm excited to see him play," Texas running back Joe Bergeron said Monday. "That's one very large person. I just keep telling him, 'I can't wait until you get here. I have mad love for you.' "
Harrison missed two weeks of practice, so it's unclear how much time he will need to catch up and join the lineup. In the event he does, Texas coaches likely would move starting left tackle Donald Hawkins to left guard and left guard Trey Hopkins to center.
They'd prepared for the past two weeks under the assumption Harrison would not be available. Now the staff will turn its attention to getting him ready for the Aug. 31 season opener against New Mexico State.
"The first day we saw him, he was great," Hopkins said Monday. "We've seen him in the film room, seen him doing all the mental work and things like that. He's still thinking football and getting prepared to play."