Whether Oregon plays football this year, after the Pac-12 announced a breakthrough in testing that may make a season feasible, it would line up without one of its best players.
Offensive tackle Penei Sewell, largely expected to be one of the top players selected in the 2021 NFL draft, announced Monday that he has decided to opt out of the season and prepare for the draft.
Sewell made the announcement on his Twitter page, thanking former coaches, teammates, fans and medical and academic staff.
"There are no words to adequately express how blessed I feel for having played football for the past two seasons at the best school in the country, the University of Oregon," Sewell wrote.
Thank You. pic.twitter.com/5j5agPK82r
"The love and support I've received has been overwhelming and I could not be more grateful. But ever since I was little, I have dreamt of playing professional football. Accordingly, after long thought, prayer and many conversations with my family, I have decided to opt out of the 2020-2021 college football season and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft."
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge throughout the country, only three of the Power 5 conferences, the SEC, the Big 12 and the ACC, have committed to holding their football seasons. Players are free to opt out at their discretion over medical concerns, or to prepare for the NFL as Sewell did.
Sewell was a first-team All-American selection after the 2019 season and won the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the country's top interior lineman. He became the first Oregon Duck and the first Polynesian to win the Outland Trophy.
At 6-foot-6 and 330 pounds, Sewell allowed just one sack in 1,376 snaps over the last two seasons.
Sewell joins former LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase, former Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman and former Miami pass rusher Gregory Rousseau as players expected to be top selections in the 2021 draft to have opted out of their seasons.
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