Multiple players opt out to prepare for 2021 NFL Draft

JaMarr Chase, one of the top players to opt out

Ja’Marr Chase, one of the top players to opt out

With the COVID-19 pandemic shaking up the college football world, a new rule has emerged as a way to forego the 2020 college football season, and a surprising number of players are using it. The opting-out system was initially intended for players who had concerns about playing the season due to the pandemic, but some players are starting to use this option for reasons other than COVID-19. Could this become a rule that stays going forward into future seasons?


Here is my list of the top ten players who have chosen to use this option and opt out of the 2020 season.


  1. Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis Tigers

The Memphis running back had an explosive season in 2019, putting up 1,459 yards and 13 touchdowns. Gainwell was expected to have another breakout season and was going to have a huge part in a possible 2nd straight NY6 bowl for Memphis. Gainwell’s father announced on August 30th that he would be opting-out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns. The Gainwell family had already lost four family members due to the virus, and they did not want any more risk in the family. Kenneth Gainwell is projected to be the 5th best running back prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft.


  1. Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech Hokies

Caleb Farley had a great season last year, racking up 14 sacks, 12 forced incompletions, and 4 interceptions. Farley was going to be the cornerstone of the Hokie defense and is expected to be a 1st round draft pick. He is ranked as the #2 cornerback going into the 2021 NFL Draft only behind Patrick Surtain II of Alabama. Caleb Farley announced on July 29 that he would opt-out of the 2020 season due to concerns about the procedures that Virginia Tech was taking to keep everyone safe. He also added that his mother had passed in 2018 to breast cancer, so protecting his father meant more than football.


  1. Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State Nittany Lions

In the 2019 season, the Penn State linebacker recorded 52 tackles, 5 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. He was the highest-rated recruit that head coach James Franklin ever signed, and the 2nd highest-rated recruit in Penn State football history. Micah Parson was expected to have another great year and play a massive role in a potential Big Ten championship run. Parsons put out a video on August 6th, announcing that he would opt out of the 2020 seasons due to Covid-19 concerns. His biggest concern was the well being of his young son and elderly members of his family. Micah Parsons has entered his name into the 2021 NFL Draft as a potential top-ten selection.


  1. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon Ducks

Penei Sewell is considered one of the best offensive linemen in all of college football. Last year, Sewell was awarded the Outland Trophy, which is given to the best interior lineman each year. He was expected to have about as influential a role as an offensive lineman can have. If Oregon’s QB had had enough time in the pocket with Penei Sewell protecting him, Oregon could have made a possible run to the playoffs. Sewell announced on September 7th that he would be opting-out of the season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft Covid-19 risk-free. 


  1. Dylan McCaffery, QB, Michigan Wolverines

Dylan McCaffery was expected to be the next starting QB for Michigan following the graduation of Shea Patterson. He played a few times in 2019, but he was still the backup for Patterson, so he could only put up 116 yards with one touchdown. He announced on September 6th that he would be opting-out of the season due to Covid-19 concerns, and will be entering the transfer portal. Whoever gets Dylan will be getting a good and reliable quarterback, especially in a pro-style offense. This is a big loss for the Wolverines because there are many uncertinties about their 2nd string QB.


  1. Kennedy Brooks, RB, Oklahoma Sooners

Kennedy Brooks was regarded as the 2nd best RB in the Big 12, only behind Heisman candidate Chuba Hubbard of Oklahoma State, and one of the best in the entire country. In 2019, he had 1,011 yards with no fumbles and six touchdowns. He had a fantastic season in the previous year, finishing with 1,056 yards, no fumbles, and 12 touchdowns. He was projected to return with another big year and be one of the many weapons that the Oklahoma offense has. Brooks made it official on August 16th that he would be opting-out of the 2020 season and prepare for the NFL Draft after being one of nine to test positive on the Oklahoma roster.


  1. Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota Golden Gophers

Rashod Bateman had an incredible season in 2019, putting up 1,219 yards with 11 touchdowns. Bateman was expected to do great things in this upcoming season, and most likely be the best player on the Minnesota team and a top WR in the Big Ten, which is full of elite talent. Bateman announced on August 4th that he would be opting-out of the 2020 season to prepare for the NFL Draft. He made this decision shortly after the Big 10 reported that they would be canceling football in the fall. This is a massive loss for Minnesota and may have crushed their hopes of a Big 10 title game appearance.


  1. Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue Boilermakers

Rondale Moore is undoubtedly a top prospect going into the NFL Draft and a top 5 WR in the Big 10. Moore is also the best player on the Purdue team. He was expected to have another explosive season as he did in 2018 after having a down year in 2019. On August 6th, Moore announced that he would opt-out of the 2020 season to focus on preparing for the NFL Draft and keep his family risk free from Covid-19.


  1. Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia Bulldogs

Jamie Newman arrived at Georgia only a few months out from the start of the season. He was a QB transfer from Wake Forest that was projected to be Georgia’s starter this season. He was also expected to have a great year after winning the starting job over 5 star QB transfer J.T Daniels from USC. He announced on September 2nd that he would opt out of the 2020 season to get prepared for the 2021 NFL Draft. This was a massive blow to the Georgia offense, which is a team expected to make a playoff run.


  1. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU Tigers

Chase had a ridiculous season last year, putting up 1,780 yards with 20 touchdowns. He vital a key part of the 2020 National Champion LSU offense and was expected to be the cornerstone of a hopeful return the playoffs for the Tigers. He broke every LSU fans on August 30th by announcing that he would opt-out of the 2020 season to keep his family safe and train for the NFL Draft. He is projected to be a possible top 5 pick in the draft. For LSU, almost every starter on the national championship team last year either opted out or graduated.