Updated List of Top CFB Players Opting Out or Back In
As if the college football conference will-they-, won't-they-play carousel isn't complicated enough to follow, players are making very personal decisions for the 2020 season as well.
Though all 10 Football Bowl Subdivision leagues ultimately have chosen to piece together a shortened schedule, several star players will not be on the field. New updates are still coming, and they likely won't end until late October or early November.
But other standout players are set to return.
Most notably, that's happening in the Big Ten—which had previously said it would not reconsider the postponed fall season. And it's entirely possible Pac-12 players will follow suit.
Changes are inevitable. This list, however, is accurate as of Monday, Sept. 28.
More Notable Decisions to Know
Recent Opt-Out Decisions (subject to change)
Walker Little, OT, Stanford
Dylan McCaffrey, QB, Michigan
Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
Jalen Redmond, DT, Oklahoma
Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC
Previous Opt-Outs (subject to change)
Kennedy Brooks, RB, Oklahoma
Camryn Bynum, CB, Cal
Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia
Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
Tyler Shelvin, DT, LSU
Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest
Ambry Thomas, CB, Michigan
In: Michigan Lineman and Michigan State Pass-Rusher
Last season, Jalen Mayfield started all 13 games at right tackle for Michigan, earning All-Big Ten honorable mention. He initially opted out to focus on the 2021 NFL draft and signed with an agent, which has created a bit of an issue that shouldn't be one.
NCAA rules stipulate that once a player signs with an agent, he is no longer eligible to play in college. Since the Big Ten initially stated it would not reconsider playing this fall, it's only logical that Mayfield (and everyone else) should be granted a waiver.
Michigan will be glad to have Mayfield available, particularly when Michigan State defensive end Jacub Panasiuk comes around.
Though he planned to redshirt and return, Panasiuk's absence would've been felt on an otherwise inexperienced front. He totaled 11 tackles for loss, five sacks and three forced fumbles in 2019.
Out: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Northwestern, however, will be without the cornerstone of the offensive line. Rashawn Slater opted out and isn't coming back.
"I didn't think a winter or spring season allows for optimal recovery or training to have a great rookie year," he said, per Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports. "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."
Ethan Wiederkehr is likely to replace Slater, whom B/R's Matt Miller listed as a second-round pick in his preseason mock draft.
In: Star Big Ten Wideouts
Had the Big Ten played but neither Rondale Moore nor Rashod Bateman suited up, it would've been a major disappointment.
Moore announced his stay-or-go decision on ESPN, coming back to bolster a Purdue receiving corps alongside 1,000-yard wideout David Bell. Injuries limited Moore to only four appearances last season, but he amassed 2,215 all-purpose yards as a freshman in 2018.
Thamel reported Bateman wants to return, though he—like Mayfield—signed with an agent and needs a waiver. Bateman caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns last year.
Out: Texas A&M Teammates
Jhamon Ausbon paced Texas A&M with 66 catches, 872 yards and five touchdowns last year. That alone is enough justification to call Ausbon the Aggies' top target in 2020.
Additionally, though, both Quartney Davis and Kendrick Rogers entered the 2020 NFL draft. And in August, a torn ACL ended slot receiver Camron Buckley's year before it began. Texas A&M is now extremely thin on experience at the position.
Junior linebacker Anthony Hines III is out, too.
Hines announced he plans to return in 2021, but he'll be missed in the middle of the defense. Last year, the 6'3", 226-pounder ranked second on the team in both tackles (73) and stops for loss (10.5).
In: Ohio State Teammates
Soon after the Big Ten's announcement, Shaun Wade and Wyatt Davis shifted their attention to the 2021 NFL draft. They're now expected to play for the Buckeyes this fall.
Wade thrived at nickelback last year, allowing a Big Ten-low 9.7 yards per reception, per Pro Football Focus. Although he's likely to play on the outside in 2020, Wade's success in the slot created a strong NFL profile that can still markedly improve.
Davis, meanwhile, earned first-team AP All-America honors for his excellence at right guard in 2019. He's allowed a single sack in two seasons with the Buckeyes, according to PFF.
In his preseason mock draft, B/R's Miller pegged Wade and Davis as potential first-round selections.
Out: Oregon Teammates
Oregon might not be as lucky with an offensive lineman and defensive backs.
James Crepea of The Oregonian reported there's been "no discussion" about Penei Sewell returning. Strictly on talent, the left tackle had a compelling case for best player in the country. Sewell earned unanimous first-team All-America recognition last year.
And on defense, Oregon is expected to be without Jevon Holland, Thomas Graham Jr. and Deommodore Lenoir. Perhaps the nation's top secondary is now a rebuilding unit.
Holland recorded 66 tackles and four interceptions in 2019. Graham totaled 64 stops, 10 pass breakups and two interceptions, and Lenoir chipped in 47 tackles with seven PBUs and a pick. Graham and Lenoir each forced a fumble as well.