With the status of the 2020 college football season largely in question due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, some prominent—and some less prominent—players are taking their future into their own hands by choosing to opt out of the season entirely. Many of the players opting out have also declared for the NFL Draft, and ostensibly will get quite an early start preparing for it. Below are some of the more prominent NFL prospects who have opted out in recent weeks. Also, unlike the NFL, there isn’t any sort of deadline for players to make a decision, so expect this list to grow in the coming weeks and months.
CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
One of the first players to decline to play the season, Farley is already a projected first-round pick thanks to his combination of height, weight and speed. The junior is listed at 6’2” and 207 lbs, and is expected to run a sub-4.4 40-yard dash. That speed ensures he can recover even if he makes mistakes and that size allows him to challenge receivers at the catch point. He’s not the most polished player at the position, but he nonetheless finished his college career with 56 tackles and six interceptions.
LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
Parsons was set to be one of the most exciting players to watch in the coming season, because he may be the best linebacker prospect to come out of college football in years. At 6’3” and 244 lbs, he’s big enough to play inside linebacker and isn’t afraid to take on blocks. Meanwhile, he shows more than enough speed to handle himself in coverage. He’s a complete player and a top-15 lock.
WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
The 2021 NFL Draft sports yet another deep group of wide receivers and Bateman will be near the top of the list. The 6’2”, 210-lb receiver isn’t the fastest, but he gets open thanks to savvy, mature route running and an ability to box out and bully defenders at the catch point. A red-zone specialist, he finished the 2019 season with 60 catches for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns.
RB Ra’Von Bonner, Illinois
Unlike the names above, Bonner opted out due to medical reasons—he suffers from asthma—and he isn’t held in the same regard as other players at his position. After an injury-plagued freshman year, he began to produce this past season, and now has 905 yards from scrimmage with 11 total touchdowns in his two seasons. A good zone runner with some toughness, he was in line for more touches this season as he took over the role as the team’s number-one tailback.
There will certainly be more players opting out over the next several weeks and entire programs have now said they won’t play, including UCONN, the first FBS team to cancel their season.