Below are prospects who have stated their intent to opt out of the upcoming college football season amid the COVID-19 pandemic and enter the 2021 NFL Draft.
Underclassmen (denoted with an asterisk in this post) typically have until a mid-January deadline to file declaration papers with the league, with a 72-hour period to reconsider after filing.
The 86th NFL draft is scheduled to be held April 29-May 1, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Camryn Bynum, Cal: A redshirt senior, Bynum had started 38 straight games for Cal entering 2020. He posted 32 passes defensed and five interceptions (one in 2019) during his collegiate career, earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors from the league's coaches last season. He dealt with an unspecified lower-body issue this spring.
Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech*: Farley was the first high-profile prospect to announce he was opting out, revealing his decision on July 29. He has the traits teams covet in a big cornerback and led the ACC with 16 passes defensed in 2019.
Thomas Graham Jr., Oregon: Graham (5-foot-11, 193 pounds, per school measurements), a senior, cited the Pac-12's postponement of the football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic in explaining his decision. Graham entered 2020 as the FBS active leader in career pass breakups (32) and on an impressive streak of 39 consecutive starts dating back to his freshman year.
Tay Gowan, UCF: Gowan, a senior, revealed in his announcement that he has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past. The junior-college transfer has one year of starting experience at the FBS level, recording 31 tackles, two interceptions and eight passes defensed in 2019.
Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon: Lenoir (5-foot-11, 203 pounds, per school measurements) is forgoing a potential Pac-12 spring season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the option to return to UO in the fall of 2021 under a recent NCAA ruling that extends to athletes an extra year of eligibility. Lenoir, a senior, ends his college career having made 27 consecutive starts for the Ducks dating back to the beginning of the 2018 season. He's recorded five interceptions and 21 pass breakups for his career, though he picked off only one pass last season.
Bryan Mills, North Carolina Central: Mills told SB Nation he intends to forego his final season of eligibility and enter the 2021 NFL Draft. A first-team All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference pick in 2019, he was among 250 players selected to the Reese's Senior Bowl Top 250 watch list this year. He posted a team-high five INTs last season.
Ambry Thomas, Michigan: Thomas earned third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2019, his only season as a starter for the Wolverines. "This was a very difficult decision as there is nothing I wanted to do more than to suit up in the Maize and Blue this this fall," he wrote in a tweet announcing his decision to forego his remaining season of eligibility. "However, in light of the (Big Ten) season being postponed, my family and I have decided that beginning to prepare for the draft is the right step to take." Thomas recorded 38 tackles, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries last season. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Notre Dame in 2018.
Kary Vincent Jr., LSU: Vincent (5-foot-10, 189 pounds, per school measurements) is a senior, but he did mention in his opt-out announcement that he intends to begin prepping for the 2021 NFL Draft. He played a nickel-back role in the Tigers' vaunted secondary last year, making eight starts and intercepting four passes (second-most on the team). He also ran track at LSU and clocked a wind-aided 10.07 100-meter dash at the LSU Invitational in 2018. His late father, Kary Sr., was a sixth-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 1992.
Levi Onwuzurike, Washington: Onwuzurike was a first-team All-Pac-12 pick in 2019 after posting 45 tackles, including six for losses (two sacks). It was the redshirt senior defensive tackle's only season as a full-time starter.
Tyler Shelvin, LSU*: The 6-foot-3, 346-pounder (per school measurements) adds a burly interior run stopper to the 2021 draft field, one who has battled weight issues in his college career but has shown the ability to take on double teams and clog rushing lanes. Shelvin, a former five-star recruit, has only 1.5 sacks for his career but led a stout run defense in his first year as a starting nose guard in 2019 with 39 tackles.
Jay Tufele, USC*: The fourth-year junior is opting out of the upcoming football season after USC's fall schedule was postponed by the Pac-12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tufele (6-foot-3, 315 pounds, per school measurements) was the Trojans' Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2018 and 2019, and earned All-Pac-12 first-team honors last year, with 41 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss (4.5 sacks) from an interior position.
Jaylen Twyman, Pittsburgh*: Twyman noted his decision to opt out is not related to the COVID-19 pandemic. "This past year has been crazy for so many people, it makes you realize you have responsibilities beyond yourself," he wrote in a Tweet. "That's why I have decided to opt out of the 2020 season and declare for the 2021 NFL draft, and to return home to be with my family. This isn't about COVID-19. It's about my family's needs, now and in the future." Twyman (6-foot-2, 290 pounds, per school measurements) would have been a fourth-year junior this fall. The defensive tackle was a key member of one of college football's most talented defensive lines, with a special ability to rush the passer from the interior. Twyman's 10.5 sacks in 2019 made him the first interior DL to lead Pitt in sacks since All-Pro Aaron Donald posted 11 in 2013.
Greg Rousseau, Miami*: The Hurricanes lost a special talent when Rousseau informed coach Manny Diaz that he would be opting out on Aug. 6. NFL.com analyst and former scout Daniel Jeremiah called Rousseau the top 2021 draft prospect he's studied this summer. The former Hurricane racked up 15.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman in 2019 (only 2020 No. 2 overall pick Chase Young had more QB takedowns). Jeremiah has compared him to Vikings Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter.
Joe Tryon, Washington*: A post to agent Joe Panos' Instagram account welcomed Tryon (6-foot-5, 262 pounds, per school measurements) to the Athletes First family, indicating that Tryon is forgoing his remaining two seasons of eligibility. He's coming off a breakthrough redshirt sophomore campaign in which he earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors after recording 12.5 tackles for loss, including eight sacks. The vast majority of that production (10 TFL, six sacks) came in three games: vs. Utah, at Oregon State and vs. Washington State.
Micah Parsons, Penn State*: The reigning Big Ten Linebacker of the Year announced his intentions on Aug. 6. Jeremiah has placed a higher grade on Parsons than he did for any of the three off-ball linebackers selected in the first round of this year's draft (Kenneth Murray, Patrick Queen, Jordyn Brooks).
Wyatt Davis, Ohio State*: Davis will bypass the Big Ten's plan for a winter or spring season and intends to enter the 2021 NFL Draft. He cited the potential absence of an opportunity to play for a national championship in telling Yahoo Sports of his decision. Davis (6-foot-4, 315 pounds, per school measurements) earned first-team All-America honors as a third-year sophomore in 2019. Jeremiah has compared Davis to Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 first-round pick David DeCastro, who's been selected to five consecutive Pro Bowls. Davis' late grandfather, Willie, starred on the Green Bay Packers defensive line, never missed a game in a 12-year pro career, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.
Tommy Doyle, Miami (Ohio): The 2019 first-team All-MAC selection elected to bypass his final season of eligibility to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. At 6-8, 326 pounds (school measurements), Doyle started 13 games at left tackle last season after serving as the team's starting right tackle in 2018.
Danny Godlevske, Miami (Ohio): Doyle's teammate made 37 starts over his four seasons with the RedHawks, earning third-team All-MAC honors in each of the past two campaigns. The center missed all but one game in 2017 with a broken foot.
Walker Little, Stanford: Little's decision adds one of the nation's top offensive linemen to the NFL draft field for 2021. A 6-foot-7, 320-pounder (school measurements), Little suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Cardinal's first game of 2019, against Northwestern. He was a first-team All-Pac-12 choice at left tackle as a sophomore in 2018.
Jalen Mayfield, Michigan*: The junior has game experience at both tackle positions but primarily has played on the right side, where he started 13 games as a sophomore in 2019. He was an honorable mention pick on the 2019 All-Big Ten Team. His NCAA eligibility will remain intact as long as he does not sign with an agent, in the event he changes his mind, as the Big Ten intends to explore a schedule for down the road.
Penei Sewell, Oregon*: As a sophomore last year, Sewell became the first Oregon player to win the Outland Trophy as college football's top lineman. He played the left tackle position for UO with stellar pass protection, allowing no sacks over 926 snaps in 2019, and only one sack over 1,376 career snaps. Jeremiah recently scouted three game tapes of Sewell's from last season -- against Auburn, Stanford and USC -- and found him to be exceptional in both run blocking and pass blocking.
Rashawn Slater, Northwestern: The standout tackle is opting out of his senior year to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. The Big Ten postponed the fall football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has formed a task force to plan a season for the winter or spring. "I didn't think a winter or spring season allows for optimal recovery or training to have a great rookie year," Slater told Yahoo Sports. "I talked about it with everyone. Everyone at Northwestern has been extremely supportive." Slater (6-foot-4, 315 pounds, per school measurements) has amassed a wealth of starting experience at NU at both left and right tackle, making 11 starts on the left side in 2019 among 37 for his career. He was an honorable mention pick for the 2019 All-Big Ten Team.
Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC*: The Trojans' left guard in 2019 was outstanding in his only year as a starter, earning USC's Offensive Lineman of the Year and first-team All-Pac-12 honors. Vera-Tucker (6-foot-4, 315 pounds, per school measurements) was to have been a fourth-year junior this fall.
Jamie Newman, Georgia: Newman left Wake Forest as a graduate transfer in January and chose Georgia, within days of former UGA QB Jake Fromm announcing that he would enter the 2020 draft as an underclassman. He was outstanding for the Demon Deacons in 2019, his only full season as a starter at the college level. He threw for 2,868 yards and 26 TDs with 11 interceptions, and rushed for 574 yards and six scores.
Jhamon Ausbon, Texas A&M: A leader for the Aggies who was entering his senior season, Ausbon recorded a team-high 66 catches for 872 yards and five touchdowns in 2019. "This was not an easy decision at all!" Ausbon stated in a Tweet announcing his plans. "Sounds cliche, but when I decided to come back for my fourth year, I would've never imagined not playing this season with the guys that I love and call brothers. These are bonds that I will hold for a lifetime and I mean that wholeheartedly."
Rashod Bateman, Minnesota*: Bateman was heading into his junior season after setting school records for receiving yards (1,219) and touchdowns (11) in 2019. Jeremiah had high praise for the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder (school measurements) this summer, likening him to Saints All-Pro Michael Thomas.
Ja'Marr Chase, LSU*: Chase set SEC single-season records in both receiving yards (1,780) and touchdown catches (20) as a sophomore last season, helping LSU win the national title. Jeremiah compared him to Steve Smith Sr. and Anquan Boldin in terms of competitiveness and after-the-catch skill.
Warren Jackson, Colorado State: A 6-6, 215-pound senior (school measurements), Jackson earned first-team All-Mountain West honors in 2019 after leading the Rams with 77 catches for 1,119 yards and eight touchdowns.
Rondale Moore, Purdue*: One of the most electric playmakers in the game, Moore is a versatile threat who can wreak havoc as a receiver, rusher and kick returner. After bursting onto the scene as a freshman, he played in just four games last season due to a hamstring injury. He last took the field as a Boilermaker on Sept. 28, 2019, which means he could go nearly two years between games.
Sage Surratt, Wake Forest*: Surratt, a fourth-year junior, cited the "many uncertainties and risks" associated with COVID-19 for his decision. He had a breakout season for Wake Forest in 2019, with 66 catches for 1,001 yards and 11 touchdowns in just nine games, suffering a season-ending injury against Virginia Tech in early November. He set a school record with TD catches in seven consecutive games and was chosen to the All-ACC first team.