T.A. Cunningham is the top-ranked defensive lineman in the class of 2024 and the second-best player overall in California, according to 247Sports. However, he’s in a legal battle over his eligibility to play.
During the offseason, Cunningham transferred from Johns Creek (Ga.) to Los Alamitos (Calif.), one of the country’s most high-profile high school teams, which features highly ranked quarterback Malachi Nelson.
But local officials have ruled that Cunningham cannot play.
According to a report by Kyle Bonagura at ESPN, Cunningham filed an injunction on Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court seeking to overturn a decision from the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section last week that ruled him ineligible. Cunningham’s filing states that the CIF has provided no written explanation for its decision.
The injunction is seeking an immediate order to make Cunningham eligible to play tonight’s game. Los Alamitos is scheduled to visit 4-0 Santa Margarita (Calif.). with kickoff at 7:00 p.m.
Cunningham’s attorney Michael Caspino claims that he’s being victimized.
“Caspino told ESPN that after he provided lawyers for the CIF-SS with a declaration to prove Cunningham’s hardship on Wednesday, the CIF-SS moved the goalposts. According to Caspino, a representative for the CIF-SS told him that while the organization no longer objected to Cunningham’s hardship claim, it had opened an undue influence investigation, during which Cunningham would remain ineligible.”
Cunningham (6-foot-6, 265 pounds) is one of the hottest recruits in his class and has offers from practically every major college football program in the country except Alabama.
So far, Cunningham has offers from 59 colleges, including Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, California, USC, UCLA, Michigan, Miami and Georgia. For now, Oklahoma is considered the favorite to get his commitment.
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