Virginia Tech Cornerback Caleb Farley, A Projected First-Round 2021 NFL Draft Pick, Becomes First Top Prospect to Opt Out of 2020 College Football Season

By Dan Hope on July 29, 2020 at 5:25 pm
Caleb Farley
Brett Davis – USA TODAY Sports

A potential first-round pick in next year's NFL draft has opted out for the 2020 season.

Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley, who is ranked by The Draft Network as the No. 9 overall prospect and No. 1 cornerback for the 2021 NFL draft, announced Wednesday that he will not play this fall – instead choosing to start preparing for his professional football career – due to concerns about COVID-19.



A post shared by Caleb Farley (@cr_farley) on

Farley said the death of his mother Robin, who passed away in 2018 after a battle with breast cancer, was a factor in his decision. 

“I cannot afford to lose another parent or loved one,” Farley 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.”

Farley becomes the second FBS football player to announce this week he will opt out of the 2020 season, joining Illinois running back Ra'Von Bonner, who told the Chicago Tribune on Monday that he hopes to return to the Illini for a fifth-year senior season in 2021. Calvin Ashley, an offensive tackle at Florida A&M, also announced last week that he would skip his senior season and begin preparing for the NFL draft after the MEAC canceled all fall sports.

Naturally, though, Farley's decision led to speculation about whether more projected top prospects for the 2021 NFL draft will follow his lead and choose to opt out of the 2020 college football season due to the ongoing uncertainty that surrounds it.

While there have been no indications yet that any Ohio State football players are considering opting out of the season if it is played this fall, Shaun Wade's parents told Jacksonville TV station First Coast News last week that their son will not play if the season is moved to the spring. Wade's father Randy indicated Wednesday on Twitter, though, that his son still planned to play this fall:

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