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Former Warner Robins Demon stays grinding, fights to play college football

We've been following the story of CJ Harris all year. He was denied a chance to play football at Auburn, because he uses medicinal marijuana for his epilepsy.

It’s a story we’ve been covering all year. 

Warner Robins High School graduate CJ Harris was denied a chance to play college football, because he takes a form of medicinal marijuana for his battle with epilepsy.

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Before CJ took off for prep school this past August, he was still on the grind, working hard to stay in the best condition of his life, so when he gets his chance to show out, his father, Curtis Sr., wants him to show up.

"He's been staying in shape and taking it in full stride," says Curtis, Sr. "Keep that positive attitude, because when something positive happens, you're going to be ready."

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It's been a year of ups and downs for CJ and his family.

They celebrated success on the football field during CJ's senior year of high school, when he helped lead his Demons to a state championship appearance. 

Because of his stellar play, he received an opportunity to join the Auburn football team on a preferred walk-on role, only to have it taken away days before graduation, after the Tigers medical staff said he failed a physical.

CJ's family feels the school shied away, because CJ takes medical marijuana to control his epilepsy.

"I called the NCAA, and they directed me to the drug administration that does the drug testing. I told them about CJ's situation, and they told me no matter what a doctor prescribes or being a state card carrier, it doesn't matter, he can't play any NCAA sports," CJ's father said. "They say he can play D3, because they don't test, but he can't play any NCAA sports."

Now, after an independent round of testing, CJ's doctor says he believes CJ can actually 'pass' a NCAA drug test to play the sport he loves, because the actual levels of THC are very small and are less than what the NCAA says is prohibited.

"We were looking at the THC levels that they said he cannot excede, and he passed the test as far as the reference laboratory analysis of the specimen that we submitted," said Dr. Charlie Dean.

Currently, CJ has enrolled at a prep school in Massachusetts to work on his skills, hopefully catch the eye of a D1 recruiter and help out others in similar situations. 

His former high school coach, Mike Chastain, thinks he has a legitimate shot to play again on the big stage.

"He was a bigger guy that played safety," said Chastain. "He’s a physical guy. At the college level he’s probably a linebacker type guy, but his ball skills are really good, so we were able to use him in the back end. Tremendous player for us, obviously had a chance to go to Auburn and a couple of division 2 offers, so he’s a really good player.”

CJ has since returned home from East Coast Prep in Massachusetts earlier this month after a successful season on the grid iron, racking up nearly 100 tackles as a linebacker. 

He’s received several scholarship offers from Division II and FCS programs. Right now, CJ and his family are weighing out their options and hoping he gets a chance at his dream to play college football. 

We’ll continue to keep you posted on CJ’s journey.

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