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Evaluations

College Football Opt-Out Tracker

by Mark Lindquist
Updated On: September 7, 2020, 9:04 pm ET

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

Georgia QB Jamie Newman -- Newman makes for the first major quarterback to opt out in favor of draft prep. The big-bodied gunslinger transferred from Wake Forest to UGA over the winter, but ended up not even playing in one game for HC Kirby Smart's outfit. That's at least slightly problematic for his draft stock, as a big 2020 season could have served as a major springboard for Newman after spending the first portion of his career with an ACC also-ran. Newman could still potentially sneak into Round 1 next spring, but his most likely landing zone in terms of slot should be considered Rounds 2/3. 

 

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.

 

Colorado State WR Warren Jackson -- One of the top wideouts in the Group of Five, Jackson exploded for a 77-1119-8 receiving line last season. Colorado State has been something of a vortex for pushing their wideouts to a successful next level showing (see Michael Gallup, among many others). Jackson fits right into that lineage and could potentially land as a Day 2 selection with a strong process this spring.

 

LSU WR Ja'Marr Chase -- Chase is the most heralded offensive player to drop out yet. The dynamic wideout heads out for the NFL Draft on a heck of a high note, posting an 80-1780-20 receiving line in 2019 while helping to lead the Tigers to a national title. That tape will be, primarily, what evaluators will dissect this spring. Chase could push toward a top-10 selection come the spring should a team or two fall in love with him.

 

Wake Forest WR Sage Surratt -- Surratt waited until the middle of August to announce his opt-out on an ACC season which is still at least theoretically going to be played this fall. His loss -- coupled with the earlier transfer loss of QB Jamie Newman -- is a tough one for the Demon Deacons' offense. Surratt went off for 66-1001-11 receiving line last season. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Surratt as his No. 14 overall prospect for next spring shortly after April's draft was complete. 

 

Oregon T Penei Sewell -- The biggest opt out we've seen yet came from Sewell on Labor Day, though it's not a huge surprise. Sewell, we're guessing, would have declared after a normal season, anyway. With the Pac-12 postponing the season until winter/spring (barring a change in plans), speeding the decision up was logical enough. Sewell is very much in play for a top-five selection. We would not be surprised to see him go as high as No. 2 overall.

 

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.

 

Cal CB Camryn Bynum -- Bynum was a ball-hawk during his time with the Golden Bears, picking off five passes, but he really could have used a nice, sharp 2020 season before bouncing into the draft. To add a little context to that comment, his overall PFF grade notably sagged from 2018 (84.4) to 2019 (76.5). Even so, Bynum could be in play for a later Day 2 selection or early Day 3 come next spring.

 

LSU S Kary Vincent -- The Tigers were already dealing with a massive loss in talent to the draft. Now, one more missing cog for the defending champs to worry about. Vincent should light the combine ablaze as he looks to lock down a Day 2 selection, as he plays with real track speed.

Minor draft opt-outs/non-draft opt-outs

UCF QB Darriel Mack

Maryland QB Josh Jackson

Arizona QB Kevin Doyle 

Illinois RB Ra’Von Bonner 

Michigan RB Christian Turner

Middle Tennessee RB Amir Rasul

Middle Tennessee RB Martell Pettaway

Michigan State EDGE Jacub Panasiuk 

Appalachian State WR Corey Sutton

Middle Tennessee WR Tyrese Johnson

South Carolina WR OrTre Smith

South Carolina WR Randrecous Davis

Washington State WR Kassidy Woods 

Maryland TE Chigoziem Okonkwo

Maryland OL Johnny Johnson

Maryland OL Austin Fontaine

Michigan State OL Jordan Reid

Vanderbilt OL Cole Clemens

Vanderbilt OL Jonathan Stewart

Vanderbilt OL Bryce Baile

UCF OL Allan Adams

UCF OL Lamarius Benson

UCF OL Adrian Medley

UCF DL Kalia Davis

UCF DL Mason Cholewa

UCF DL Kendrick Wilson

Florida State DL Dennis Briggs, Jr.

LSU DL Neil Farrell

Maryland DL Jalen Alexander

New Mexico State DL Jomaious Williams 

Auburn LB Chandler Wooten

Maryland LB T.J. Kautai

Vanderbilt LB Dimitri Moore

Maryland DB Vincent Flythe

North Carolina DB D.j. Ford

North Carolina DB Javon Terry

North Carolina DB Bryce Watts

Auburn DB Traivon Leonard

UCF DB Elijah Benoit

Texas A&M CB Elijah Blades

UCF CB Tay Gowan

UCF CB Devunte Dawson

Vanderbilt K Oren Milstein 

Mark Lindquist
Mark Lindquist holds a master's degree from the University of Iowa and writes baseball and college football for Rotoworld.com. He's currently working on a memoir about life, death, rock 'n' roll and his year teaching at a Chinese university. You can reach him on Twitter @markrlindquist.