In this space, we are keeping a running tally of college football players opting out of the 2020 fall campaign due to the uncertainties forced by the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll sort these opt outs into two categories: Players who are opting out and will begin preparing for the draft, and those who are opting out without pro motivation.
Major draft opt-outs
Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman -- Bateman played Robin to Tyler Johnson’s Batman last fall. The Gophs will need to find a few new superheroes in the receiving corps upcoming, though, as Johnson hit the draft after the 2019 season while Bateman now follows suit. Bateman rocked a 60-1219-11 receiving line in the past campaign. The wideout is probably priced out on a top-10 selection for next spring -- it’s a loaded receiving class once again -- but top-20 could very much be in play for him if the process breaks right.
Purdue WR Rondale Moore -- Moore, like Rousseau and Parsons, opted out on Thursday. The do-everything wide receiver was largely undone by a hamstring injury in 2019, appearing in just four games, but was an outright bolt of lightning as a true freshman, capable of doing damage as a receiver (114-1258-12), a rusher (21 carries for 213 yards) and a kick-returner (33 returns for 662 yards). Pro Football Focus’ Mike Renner ranks the Purdue standout and potential top-20 pick as his No. 2 receiver in the class, trailing only LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase.
Pitt DT Jaylen Twyman -- Twyman declared his opt out intentions on Saturday. He posted 12 TFL and 10.5 sacks last season. Twyman specifically noted in his social media announcement that his decision was not being guided by the coronavirus pandemic. The Pitt standout could have used another strong showing in 2020 -- last season's performance was a bit of a breakout year. There's upside, here, but not upside which has been shown across multiple campaigns.
Penn State LB Micah Parsons -- Parsons announced his opt out on Thursday. The former star recruit came out of the gates as an immediate contributor playing as a true freshman in 2018, before leveling up for 109 tackles (14 for loss), five sacks and four forced fumbles. He ranks as the top linebacking prospect on a number of early 2021 boards, including those of ESPN’s Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr., Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller and PFF’s Mike Renner.
Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau -- When The Athletic’s Manny Navarro asked Rousseau’s younger brother about Gregory’s decision to opt out, he explained that the decision was largely guided by the unknowns with COVID-19, specifically the unknown long-term impacts on those who come down with the virus (their mom is an emergency room nurse, allowing them a little more context than other players might have). Rousseau is raw as a prospect, but his ceiling scrapes the moon. He exploded for 19.5 TFL and 15.5 sacks last season and has top-15 or even top-10 upside for the draft.
Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley -- Farley got the ball rolling with college opt outs this summer, the first major name to hit the exit door on the fall campaign. The ball-greedy cornerback picked off four passes with 12 pass breakups in 2019. He ranks as CB1 on a number of big boards at this early junction and has top-15 upside for the spring draft. PFF relays that Farley gave up just 18 catches on 50 targets last season while recording a succulent 90.3 coverage grade. Expect him to run very well at the combine once the evaluating process gets underway in earnest.
Minor draft opt-outs/non-draft opt-outs
Maryland QB Josh Jackson
Arizona QB Kevin Doyle
Illinois RB Ra’Von Bonner
Michigan State EDGE Jacub Panasiuk
Washington State WR Kassidy Woods
Maryland TE Chigoziem Okonkwo
Maryland OL Johnny Johnson
Maryland OL Austin Fontaine
Michigan State OL Jordan Reid
LSU DL Neil Farrell
Maryland DL Jalen Alexander
New Mexico State DL Jomaious Williams
Maryland LB T.J. Kautai
Maryland DB Vincent Flythe
North Carolina DB D.j. Ford
North Carolina DB Javon Terry
North Carolina DB Bryce Watts
Vanderbilt K Oren Milstein