NCAA denies extra year to AAC's reigning DPOY

East Carolina defensive end Nate Harvey, the 2018 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, will begin preparing for the NFL draft after the NCAA denied his appeal for an additional year of eligibility.

The NCAA on Friday informed new ECU coach Mike Houston that Harvey's appeal had been denied. Harvey played sparingly at Georgia Military Academy as a freshman before eventually transferring to ECU as a walk-on running back in 2017.

He moved to defensive end last season and had 14.5 sacks, 25.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 63 total tackles for the Pirates.

"We respect the decision of the NCAA, but at the same time we are disappointed," Houston told reporters Saturday after ECU's practice. "We've had some long discussions this morning about how we're going to support Nate in this transition from right now becoming a student-athlete at East Carolina University to pursuing a professional career. We will alert the NFL this afternoon that he will be eligible for the draft."

Earlier this year, ECU applied for an extra year of eligibility for Houston. The NCAA sent the application back last month, asking for more information about Harvey's situation, before denying it Friday.

Harvey led the FBS in tackles per loss per game last season (2.1) and finished third in sacks per game (1.21).