Caleb Farley, a cornerback for Virginia Tech, will not be playing football this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On Instagram, Farley announced he's going to focus on preparing for the NFL Draft. Farley is the first known college football player to opt-out of the 2020 season, which is in danger of not happening.
"I'm opting out due to uncertain health conditions and regulations and all of the other opts out going on in football right now," he said in the video. "I tragically lost my mother Robin in 2018 to an illness, and I cannot afford to lose another parent or loved one. Though the competitor in me badly wants to play this season, I cannot ignore what's going on in my heart and I must make the decision that brings me the most peace. Thank you Virginia Tech, my coaches, teammates, and anyone else who has supported me in the past. I wish you all the best and stay safe and God bless."
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There have been a number of NFL players who have opted out of the season due to health concerns. And while Farley might be the first college player to publicly announce he's opting out, more players will likely do the same in the next couple of weeks given the uncertainty of the 2020 season with major conferences canceling non-conference games. Virginia Tech plays in the ACC, and the conference recently announced the teams will play 11 games, including 10 ACC contests with a non-conference game against a team that resides in the home state.
"Today's decision was made after months of thoughtful planning by numerous individuals throughout the conference," ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a release. "The Board's decision presents a path, if public health guidance allows, to move forward with the competition."
As for Farley, Virginia Tech will miss him as he was one of the team's best players. In 2019, Farley was named to the All-ACC First Team after recording 16 passes defended, and four interceptions despite missing two games. Some experts believe Farley can be drafted in the first round next year. "He's got the size and length to match up outside versus bigger NFL receivers, plus the hands to create turnovers," Chad Reuter of NFL.com said. "He's shown the awareness in the zone to find and close on the ball."