6 Maryland football players opt out of fall season, including last year’s starting quarterback

University of Maryland head football coach Mike Locksley announced Friday that six players are opting out of the 2020 season, including last year’s starting quarterback.

The players are defensive lineman Jalen Alexander, defensive back Vincent Flythe, offensive guard Austin Fontaine, quarterback Josh Jackson, offensive lineman Johnny Jordan and linebacker T.J. Kautai.

Jackson, Jordan and Fontaine were starters last season.

“Obviously with the pandemic and the ability for players to opt out due to their concerns, we’re really as an institution and as a football program are very supportive of players whether they opt out or opt in,” Locksley told reporters.

Locksley said he completely supported each player’s decision.

“We’ll continue to support those guys as best we can,” he said. “Some guys may be exhausting eligibility. Those things are still a big question because the NCAA hasn’t necessarily ruled on those things and others we expect to return once they have a comfort level of where we are.”

Also on Friday, Maryland announced that sophomore quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, brother of Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA. Taulia Tagovailoa, who transferred from the University of Alabama, will have three years of eligibility with the Terrapins.

Maryland went 3-9 last season.

Clemson QB on opting out: ‘I think everyone’s thought about it’

On Friday, Clemson junior quarterback Trevor Lawrence, seen as likely the top pick in the 2021 NFL draft, said he will play for the Tigers this season.

“I think everyone’s thought about it just with everything going on, but since I’ve made the decision to play I haven’t thought about it again,” Lawrence told reporters after practice on Friday. “That’s my decision. I’m committed. I want to play my last year here. That’s what I’m excited to do. It’s my third year and I even have another one. So I think people are forgetting I’ve got four years. I’m just ready to have a great year and be a part of this team.”

Lawrence said he understands why others are opting out.

“I totally get it,” he said. “There’s a lot on the line for them. If they feel the risk is too much, I understand. It’s something they’ve worked their whole life to get a chance to play in the NFL. They don’t want to risk it. I think everyone has different reasons, but it makes sense in this situation, so I respect it. Even though my decision is different, I definitely understand it.”

Lawrence helped Clemson win the College Football Playoff national championship game as a freshman in the 2018 season. As a sophomore, he lost in the national title game to LSU in January. It’s been his only loss as Clemson’s starting quarterback.

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