College football’s consensus No. 1 wide receiver, LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, will opt out of the 2020 season and declare for the 2021 NFL draft, as Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports was the first to report. Chase is viewed as a potential top-five pick.
According to Dodd, Chase’s decision was not necessarily due to COVID-19. The SEC is still planning to play its 2020 season in the fall (for now), and while NFL GMs may be hesitant to select a prospect who has not played since the 2019 season when the 2021 draft comes along, it’s hard to imagine Chase’s opt-out impacting his stock too much.
The 6-foot, 208-pounder was part of LSU’s juggernaut offense last year, setting SEC single-season records in receiving yards (1,780) and receiving touchdowns (20). That same offense produced three skill positions players that were selected in the first round of the 2020 draft, including Chase’s running mate, Justin Jefferson. As good as Jefferson was, Chase was even better, winning the Biletnikoff Award in his sophomore season.
Thus far, Chase is the highest-profile collegiate player to opt out, though other first-round prospects and tantalizing receivers like Wake Forest’s Sage Surratt and Purdue’s Rondale Moore have also made that decision. It seems likely that plenty of other players will follow suit.
Chase’s formal announcement is expected tomorrow.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.