With the upcoming college football season up in the air due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was only a matter of time before some highly touted prospects decided to sit out the season.
Wednesday afternoon, the first domino fell when Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley has opted out of playing out his redshirt junior season due to the coronavirus pandemic, instead opting to train and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft, per ESPN.
Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, a projected first-round pick, is the first college player to opt out of the coming season, a source tells ESPN. Farley will spend the year training for the NFL draft. He has seen NFL players opt out and is uncomfortable with playing this year.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 29, 2020
Farley, whose mother died of breast cancer in 2018, later posted to his Instagram explaining his decision.
"I cannot afford to lose another parent or loved one," he said. "Though the competitor in me badly wants to play this season, I cannot ignore what's going on in my heart and I must make the decision that brings me the most peace."
The cornerback's expected to be selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
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Now that one marque college player has made that decision, will others follow?
Oregon has two players with expectations of being taken in the first round in 2021: offensive tackle Penei Sewell and safety Jevon Holland.
Holland retweeted Farley's decision and then tweeted the following gif shortly after.
Additionally, seniors Jordon Scott, Thomas Graham Jr., Deommodre Lenoir, and Austin Faoliu all decided to return for their senior seasons in Eugene, but given the pandemic, they could possibly weigh sitting out to not hurt their draft stock.
Will any of them sit out? Who knows.
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First 2021 NFL Draft Prospect opts out of 2020 CFB season originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest