Multiple college football players could skip 2020 season to prepare for NFL?

By Matt Johnson
Nov 9, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers running back Travis Etienne (9) celebrates his third touchdown with quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) during the second half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Carter-Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

As uncertainty hangs over the 2020 college football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many football players are weighing their futures. With a greater chance that the upcoming season is shortened or moved to the spring, a wave of stars could be prepared to sit out this year and prepare for the NFL.

Multiple ‘high-profile’ college football players could skip 2020 CFB season

Across the country, Power 5 programs face a critical point that will decide the fate of the 2020 college football season. The Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences have moved to shortened schedules this year. Meanwhile, the SEC, ACC and Big 12 could decide by the end of July whether or not to play football this fall.

Amid all the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, college football players are now weighing their futures even more. As detailed by The Athletic’s Ben Standig, agents are talking to high-profile collegiate stars and it now looks increasingly likely that multiple players could skip the upcoming season to prepare for the NFL.

There is growing support across the collegiate ranks to move football to spring 2021. Given the NFL isn’t willing to reschedule the 2021 NFL Draft, scheduled to begin on April 29, many top draft-eligible prospects could jump ship if fall sports are moved to next spring.

“(Power conferences) don’t want to play in the spring,” an anonymous college football coach told The Athletic. “They’d rather play in the fall so that they get their great players to play. If you push it back till spring, you could lose half the starters. … I think that’s a legitimate concern for a lot of people.”

Unfortunately, conferences might be running out of time at a moment when the pandemic keeps getting worse. Given the uncertainty hanging over the college football season, even with the chance it begins in October, the damage might already be done.

“They’re gonna bail. I mean, I’m recruiting some high-end kids,” an agent said, via The Athletic. “I talked to probably four of them last night, and they all echoed the same thing. Like, they’re done. This is over.”

As our first 2021 NFL mock draft showcases, the upcoming class is loaded with multiple college stars. Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick, but hio State star Justin Fields is right behind him.

Clemson could have three first-round picks next April with Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Xavier Thomas. Meanwhile, Ohio State and Alabama could be at risk of multiple marquee players leaving to prepare for the NFL.

The 2020 college football season already faced a rocky path forward. With many of its stars contemplating sitting out to secure their futures, things will get even more complicated for the NCAA and its schools.