Luke Ford heard some discouraging news from the NCAA last month, as his waiver for immediate eligibility after transferring from Georgia to Illinois was denied. But things might be changing now that Tom Mars is on the case.

Mars, who helped Michigan’s Shea Patterson and Ohio State’s Justin Fields receive immediate eligibility from the NCAA after transferring, is now working with Ford in hopes the NCAA will change its ruling. Ford transferred to Illinois to be closer to family, particularly grandparents with health concerns.

After just a short time of the case, Mars believes Ford has a good chance to see the field in 2019.

“Just spit-balling here, but if Illini Nation is hoping to see their 250-pound tight end on the field during the Akron game, I don’t think they’ll be disappointed,” Mars told the Illini Inquirer. “I could be wrong, but that’s my prediction.”

Ford has received support from Illinois and Georgia fans. There was even a #FreeLukeFord campaign making its way through Twitter, trying to nudge the NCAA to give the tight end immediate eligibility.

The NCAA denied Ford’s waiver, saying the University of Illinois was not within a 100-mile radius of his home and that his grandparents were not nuclear family members. After being denied for immediate eligibility, the family retained Mars to help with the process.

Illinois opens the 2019 season against Akron on Aug. 31. We’ll see if Ford is allowed to suit up for that first game soon enough.