Stanford OL Walker Little Opts out of 2020-21 Season to Prepare for NFL Draft

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2020

Stanford offensive tackle Walker Little (72) in action against Northwestern during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Tony Avelar/Associated Press

With Pac-12 football postponed until at least the spring, Stanford offensive tackle Walker Little has opted out of playing this season.

Little announced his decision on Stanford's athletic website:

"I returned to Stanford for my senior year to finish my degree and play one more season with my teammates. This fall, I will indeed graduate, but with so much uncertainty regarding the football season, the time is right to opt out of the 2020-21 season and prepare for the NFL Draft.

"The past three-plus years at Stanford have prepared me for this moment and I am ready and eager for what the future holds.

"I will always cherish the memories I have made with my teammates both on and off the field. The men in the locker room are what has made Stanford Football special for me.

"I want to thank Coach Shaw for being true to what he said in recruiting and taking care of me, guiding me and changing me into the man I am now. He has helped me reach my ultimate goal, a Stanford degree and an opportunity to play in the NFL. For that I will always be grateful."

Little is the second high-profile offensive tackle in the Pac-12 to announce he won't play if there's a season in the spring. 

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Oregon's Penei Sewell announced his decision Monday on Twitter. 

B/R's Matt Miller projected Little as the No. 19 overall pick to the Green Bay Packers in his way-too-early 2021 mock draft released Monday:

"He was my top tackle on the board before the 2019 season started, but a knee injury cost him that campaign. Without a 2020 season, his stock could now be damaged by a lack of tape.

"What's out there on Little is very good, though. His sophomore tape was first-round-caliber, and as long as teams are comfortable with where his knee is at after almost two years of not playing, his technique and upside are as good as any blocker the Packers could hope to find this late in the draft."

Last season was a lost year for Little, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1 against Northwestern. He announced in December he was returning to school for his senior season. 

Little has been a standout member of the Cardinal's offensive line since his arrival on campus in 2017. The 21-year-old shared the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year award with Arizona running back J.J. Taylor. He followed that up by being named to the All-Pac-12 first team as a sophomore in 2018.