Maryland football players Austin Fontaine, Johnny Jordan, Josh Jackson, Vincent Flythe, Jalen Alexander and TJ Kautai have all opted out of the 2020 college football season, head coach Mike Locksley told the media on Friday.
Additionally, tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo will miss the season due to a medical condition.
Maryland head coach Mike Locksley says DL Jalen Alexander, OL Austin Fontaine, OL Johnny Jordan, QB Josh Jackson, DB Vincent Flythe and LB TJ Kautai have all opted out of the season.— Emily Giambalvo (@EmilyGiam) August 7, 2020
Jackson, Jordan and Fontaine were starters last year.
Opt outs are expected to become a common occurrence in the college football world as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pose a risk. Numerous first-round talents such as Penn State's Micah Parsons, Miami's Greg Rousseau, Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley and Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman have all announced they will not play in 2020.
For Maryland, while the health and safety of players comes first, the opt outs will have a great impact on the talent of the roster. Fontaine and Jordan were expected to start on the offensive line, a position that doesn't have much depth, while Flythe would have an impact on the secondary. Okonkwo was projected to see major playing time at tight end as well.
Quarterback Josh Jackson wasn't guaranteed to start, but he was one of only three scholarship passers on the roster and QB transfer Taulia Tagovailoa still awaits a decision on his waiver request to play immediately by the NCAA. It's conceivable that redshirt freshman Lance LeGendre, a four-star recruit from Louisiana, is the lone scholarship quarterback on the roster at a school where depth at that position has long been an issue. A thin position becomes even thinner.
As of now, there's no guarantee that a college football season will be played at all, but Wednesday's schedule release proved that the Big Ten is hoping to play a conference-only slate in 2020. If that does happen, Maryland will have to compete without some important pieces.
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