One of the top tackle prospects set to be eligible for the 2021 draft will begin his pre-draft training early. Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater is opting out of the 2020 season, Pete Thamel of Yahoo.com reports.
Slater’s decision comes when a few notable Big Ten names — from Purdue wideout Rondale Moore to Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade to fellow tackle prospect Jalen Mayfield (Michigan) — reversed course on their opt-outs after the Big Ten’s call to begin its season in October. But Slater has played 38 college games and may not have too much to gain from a strong senior season amid uncertain circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I didn’t think a winter or spring season allows for optimal recovery or training to have a great rookie year,” Slater said, via Thamel. “I talked about it with everyone. Everyone at Northwestern has been extremely supportive. They’ve had open and honest conversations with me. I can tell they wanted the best for me.”
The son of former eight-year NBA veteran Reggie Slater, Rashawn has started 37 games at either left or right tackle. However, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. slots the 6-foot-4, 308-pound blocker as the No. 3 draft-eligible guard. Slater fared well against Chase Young in their final matchup last season, not allowing the ex-Buckeyes phenom to record a quarterback hit when they were matched up. Shifted from right to left tackle as a junior, Slater did not allow a sack in 11 games last season.
Changing course from its previous decision to consider a late-winter or spring start to the season, the Big Ten is now set to begin play Oct. 24.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.