It seemed as if it might start a trend, especially for projected first-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft like Farley. On Thursday, more players decided to forgo college football in 2020, and there will inevitably be many more in the coming days and weeks.
Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, Miami defensive end Greg Rousseau and Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore announced Thursday that their college careers are over. These are crushing blows for the Nittany Lions, Hurricanes and Boilermakers, respectively.
Let’s start with Parsons, who was named a second-team All-American and the Big Ten’s Linebacker of the Year last season. In 2019, Parsons recorded 109 tackles, nine tackles for loss, five sacks, five passes broken up, four QB hurries and four forced fumbles.
Without Parsons, Penn St. has only four starters returning from a defense that allowed merely 16.0 points per game. He had 83 tackles, five QB hurries, 3.5 TFL’s, two forced fumbles and 1.5 sacks as a freshman in 2018.
Moore had a spectacular 2018 campaign as a true freshman. He finished fourth in the nation in all-purpose yards (2,215), helping Purdue garner a Music City Bowl invite despite starting 0-3 with losses to Northwestern, Eastern Michigan and Missouri by eight combined points.
After those three gut-wrenching defeats, Moore was the catalyst in a four-game winning streak that was capped by a 49-20 win over unbeaten and second-ranked Ohio St.
In the blowout victory over the Buckeyes as 12.5-point home underdogs, Moore erupted for 12 receptions for 170 yards and two TDs. He also 24 rushing yards on two attempts and 58 return yards on special teams.
Moore earned first-team All-American honors. He paced the Boilermakers with 114 catches for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns. Moore had 213 rushing yards and two TDs on 21 carries, averaging 10.1 yards per carry.
Moore was on his way to another stellar season last year. In a 34-31 season-opening loss at Nevada, he had 11 receptions for 124 yards and one TD. Then in a 42-24 home win over Vanderbilt in Week 2, Moore had 13 catches for 220 yards and one TD.
However, in the first half of a Week 4 home game vs. Minnesota, Moore sustained a season-ending leg injury.
Without Moore, Purdue limped to a 4-8 straight-up record, although we should credit Jeff Brohm’s squad for going 7-1 against the spread in its last eight games and 8-4 ATS overall.
David Bell, a true freshman WR in 2019, earned first-team All-Big Ten honors by catching 86 balls for 1,035 yards and seven TDs. With Bell, Moore and several other returning wideouts, Phil Steele’s preseason magazine ranked Purdue’s WRs No. 1 in the Big Ten and fourth in the nation.
It’s unclear if Moore is even 100-percent healthy from last season’s injury, so he certainly can’t be judged harshly for wanting to concentrate on his health and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Nevertheless, it’s a shame for college football fans that they won’t get to see more of one of the country’s most electrifying players, as his career with the Boilermakers is over after only 17 games.
Rousseau was a second-team All-American for the Hurricanes last season. He had 54 tackles, 15.5 sacks, four TFL’s, seven QB hurries, two forced fumbles and one PBU.
Rousseau and Parsons were preseason first-team All-Americans in Steele’s magazine, which also had Moore and Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman as preseason second-team All-Americans.
News broke this morning that six Maryland players have opted out of playing this year, too. This group includes starting center Johnny Jordan and starting offensive guard Austin Fontaine.
Josh Jackson, the former starting QB at Va. Tech before transferring to Maryland, is also among the six Terrapins. Jackson started nine games for Maryland in 2019, completing only 47.3 percent of his passes for 1,274 yards with a 12/6 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Without Jackson, Mike Locksley’s program only has one scholarship QB available this season in redshirt freshman Lance Legendre. There will be two scholarship QBs for the Terps IF Alabama transfer Taulia Tagovailoa can get a waiver approved by the NCAA.
Ex-Maryland QBs Tyrell Pigrome and Max Bortenschlager transferred to Western Kentucky and FIU, respectively, during the offseason.
In addition to the Maryland players, Michigan St. starting OT Jordan Reid joined the opt-out club this morning. Reid had made 27 career starts for the Spartans.
Also, Duke’s starting long snapper for the last three years, Ben Wyatt, won’t play in 2020.