Virginia Tech will be playing the 2020 season without one of its best defensive players.
Cornerback Caleb Farley said Wednesday he won’t play in 2020 because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and will instead train for the 2021 NFL draft.
“After much consideration with my family, I have decided to opt out of the 2020 college football season and begin preparing for the 2021 NFL draft,” Farley said in a video statement. “I am opting out due to uncertain health conditions and regulations and all of the other opt outs going on in football right now. I tragically lost my mother Robin January 2, 2018 to an illness and I cannot afford to lose another parent or loved one. 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. Thank you, Virginia Tech — my coaches, teammates and anyone else who has supported me in the past. I wish you all the best. Stay safe, and God bless.”
Farley entered the 2020 college football season widely considered as one of the best corners in the country. He had 12 passes broken up and four interceptions in 10 games as a sophomore in 2019. He missed the final two games of the season because of a back injury and had offseason back surgery.
You probably saw Farley’s name on some preseason All-ACC teams and even some preseason All-American teams. The corner will likely be a high pick in the 2021 NFL draft even with just two years of game film. Farley had 36 tackles and two interceptions as a freshman in 2018.
Here’s what our Yahoo Sports NFL draft analyst Eric Edholm had to say about Farley:
The 6-2, 200-pound Farley was a high-school QB who came to Blacksburg as a wide receiver, but his ascension in the eyes of NFL scouts has been rapid and impressive. For a player who is so new to corner, he looks shockingly natural and fluid. That’s a credit to his athletic traits and football instincts, which have served him well over the past two years on defense. Farley is a long, confident, physical and effective man corner who fits the physical prototype NFL teams are seeking. He entered this season as a first-round possibility, even with a history of injury — a 2017 ACL tear and chronic back spasms in 2019 — some tackling concerns and a lack of experience at corner.
Farley is, so far, the highest-profile college football player to opt out of the 2020 season because of the pandemic. And there will likely be some other recognizable players who join him in the coming weeks, especially because college players aren’t paid to play football like their NFL counterparts.
Virginia Tech enters 2019 as one of the top teams in the ACC thanks to a generous schedule and the return of 17 other starters besides Farley. With a Sept. 12 game against Penn State canceled because of the Big Ten’s conference-only scheduling decision, Virginia Tech’s toughest game is a trip to North Carolina on Oct. 10. The Hokies avoid playing both Clemson and Florida State in the conference schedule in 2020.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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