LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase is opting out of the 2020 college football season, adding one of the most highly touted prospects to a growing list of players who have chosen not to play football this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He announced his decision via Twitter on Monday:
While Chase did not mention anything about moving on to the NFL in his Twitter post, a school spokesperson confirmed that the junior does indeed intend to enter the 2021 draft. He would be forgoing three years of eligibility remaining if you count the NCAA's ruling that will allow returning college players an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic.
Chase (6-foot, 208 pounds, per school measurements) was the most productive receiver in the FBS last year and the favorite target of eventual No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow. Chase broke Southeastern Conference single-season records in both receiving yards (1,780) and touchdown catches (20) as Burrow led the Tigers to a national championship. In December, he won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top player at his position. He also dominated on the biggest possible stage, burning Clemson for nine catches, 221 yards and two TDs in LSU's 42-25 College Football Playoff championship win. It was truly a breakout season for Chase, who started only part-time as a freshman in 2018.
NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah scouted Chase on every pass thrown his way in 2019, and described him as a complete receiver who is fearless in the middle of the field and has special ability in running after the catch. Jeremiah compared him to Steve Smith Sr. and Anquan Boldin in terms of competitiveness and after-the-catch skill, but noted their physical builds differ.
Other high-profile draft prospects who've opted out include Penn State LB Micah Parsons, Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman, Purdue WR Rondale Moore, Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, USC DL Jay Tufele, Pitt DL Jaylen Twyman, Miami DE Greg Rousseau, Michigan OL Jalen Mayfield and Wake Forest WR Sage Surratt.