LSU's Ja'Marr Chase Opts out of 2020 Season, Reportedly Will Focus on NFL Draft

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist

LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, left, catches a pass in front of Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell during the first half of a NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

The defending national champions are going to be without one of their offensive superstars in 2020.  

Wideout Ja'Marr Chase is opting out of the 2020 season to focus on his future NFL career:

Ja’MarrChase @Real10jayy__

Thank you! https://t.co/elByYq0oNg

That decision is seemingly a reversal from earlier in August, when his father, Jimmy, said Chase would be playing for LSU this season. 

"He's going to play the season out," he said, per Chris Hummer of 247Sports.com. "He's locked in with his team, and as long as everybody is healthy, he's said he wants to play with his team and his teammates. He just loves the game, and he loves LSU. He wants to finish his career out in a positive manner."

Per a report by CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd on Sunday: "Sources said Chase's decision is not specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather, it is believed agents may have simply convinced Chase to leave before his third collegiate season."

Chase is easily the biggest star to opt out of the 2020 season. He took college football by storm last year, registering 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns, with both his receiving yards and touchdowns setting SEC records. 

He was named preseason All-America first-team selection heading into the season, and he'll be off the board early in the 2021 NFL draft—B/R's Matt Miller has Chase ranked as the top overall wideout in his draft class and a top five prospect overall.

Miller wrote in May that Chase "can dominate at the catch point and doubles with special speed, power and body control," adding that he is "among the most naturally gifted receivers to play college football in the last several years. My first thought watching him play was 'Julio Jones,' as he often blows past defensive backs but is also incredibly physical in his routes and after the catch."

As for LSU, wideouts like Terrace Marshall Jr. and Racey McMath will have to step up in Chase's absence. LSU defensive end Neil Farrell Jr. and cornerback Kary Vincent also opted out of the 2020 campaign earlier in the offseason.