LSU is going to be without its top receiver this season. Ja'Marr Chase informed the team that he has opted out of the 2020 season to focus on getting ready for the NFL. The news was reported on Sunday, and Chase confirmed the news on Twitter Monday.
"The competitor in me badly wants to play the season and go to war with my brothers, but during this time with so much going on, this is what's best for my family," Chase wrote in his statement. "... I cannot ignore what I feel in my heart, and this ultimately is the best decision for me. I'll look forward to returning to the field in 2021." According to CBS Sports, Chase's decision is not related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The belief is Chase may have been convinced by agents to skip the 2020 season for the NFL.
Thank you! pic.twitter.com/elByYq0oNg— Ja’MarrChase (@Real10jayy__) August 31, 2020
Shortly after Chase's announcement, his teammate, defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin, also opted out of the 2020 season. "Those things are going to happen, that’s the time we are living in," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said on ESPN Baton Rouge 104.5 FM. "We wish Ja’Marr and Tyler the best. They helped us win a national championship, they are two great young men from great families. We recruited both of them. We wish them the best but you know what? We don’t blink. Next man up."
Chase is arguably the best wide receiver in the country. He was named to the All-America First Team after posting 20 touchdown catches and 1,780 yards in 2019. His numbers led to him winning the Biletnikoff Award, which is given annually to the nation's best receiver.
"It's interesting because going into last year, Jerry Jeudy was the guy," ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper said when comparing Chase to Judy, former Alabama receiver, back in May. "He had a super-high grade, just a spectacular player. And he drops, and here’s Denver getting him where they did at pick 15. That, to me, was a real bargain and a great pick. Ja'Marr Chase had that one year, so far. Remember he wasn’t a really productive player his first year." It's likely Chase will be a top-10 pick next year. As for LSU, it's looking forward to an interesting 2020 season where the team will play 10 conference games. Last year, LSU went undefeated and won the national title over Clemson.