Michigan will move forward without star receiver Nico Collins, as head coach Jim Harbaugh explained Monday.
"Nico is not participating in football right now," Harbaugh said, per Heather Dinich of ESPN. "I don't have a crystal ball as to if his mind would change on that. I know he's not currently on the team."
According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, Collins declared for the NFL draft and signed with an agent while there was still uncertainty about the Big Ten season. He has not returned to the team.
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported in September that the receiver had signed with agent Drew Rosenhaus.
The Big Ten season was initially postponed for the fall season, but the league announced it will return with a shortened schedule. Michigan will open its season Saturday against Minnesota.
Losing Collins for the season is significant considering the player's impact on the field.
The 6'4" wideout had 13 receiving touchdowns over the last two seasons and finished second on the team with 37 catches and 729 receiving yards in 2019. He became more of a go-to option last season than sixth-round NFL draft pick Donovan Peoples-Jones.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller projected Collins to be a third-round pick in the 2021 draft.
Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis recently praised Collins while noting the challenges with making a decision, via Zach Shaw of 247Sports:
"Nico's got a bright future in football. Obviously, he's going to play football for a very long time moving forward. A lot of our guys are faced with tough decisions they need to make for themselves, and it's really uncertain times right now. The season got canceled, got it back, there's a lot of different scenarios that are playing out. ... I think individually a lot of our guys are faced with making tough decisions, and we're here to support whatever decision they make."
Ronnie Bell will likely take on an even bigger role in the passing attack for the Wolverines, while Cornelius Johnson and Mike Sainristil must step up after seeing limited action last season.