Maryland Terrapins

Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa ruled eligible to play in 2020

Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa ruled eligible to play in 2020

It's not all bad news for the Terps.

The University of Maryland football program received good news on Friday, as transfer quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was ruled eligible to play for the Terrapins this fall, the team announced on Friday.

The news that Tagovailoa will be able to play this fall is exactly what Maryland needed. Earlier on Friday, seven Terps opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, including quarterback Josh Jackson.

Maryland had just one scholarship quarterback on the roster, redshirt freshman Lance LeGendre, prior to the announcement that Tagovailoa will be eligible. Now, the two passers are expected to compete for the Terps' starting job this fall.

RELATED: MARYLAND FOOTBALL 2020 SCHEDULE

Tagovailoa announced his intention to transfer to Maryland in May, just a few weeks after his older brother, Tua, was selected fifth overall by the Miami Dolphins in the 2020 NFL Draft. Last fall, Taulia, a freshman at the time, was the third-string quarterback for the University of Alabama behind Tua and Mac Jones.

When the younger Tagovailoa originally committed to Alabama in 2018, he thought he would have the chance to work under Locksley, who was Alabama's offensive coordinator at the time. Two years later, Tagovailoa will now get that chance, and perhaps one year earlier than he may have expected.

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Maryland football loses multiple key players to opt outs amid coronavirus pandemic

Maryland football loses multiple key players to opt outs amid coronavirus pandemic

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.

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 RousseauVirginia 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. 

RELATED: MARYLAND FOOTBALL 2020 SCHEDULE

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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Penn State LB and potential top-10 pick Micah Parsons opts out of 2020 college football season

Penn State LB and potential top-10 pick Micah Parsons opts out of 2020 college football season

Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons announced his decision to opt out of the 2020 college football season and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday. 

In a video he posted to his Instagram account, Parsons addressed Penn State fans to explain his decision to forgo the upcoming college football season amidst the coronavirus pandemic. He stated his primary reason was his two-year-old son.

"As I considered my options for the 2020 season, I decided that I needed to make a choice not for myself, but for my son and those dearest to me," Parsons said in the video. "While I felt safe with the health and safety standards as we returned to Penn State for workouts, the potential risk to the health and well-being of my son far outweighed my urge to play football season."

Parsons’ decision came as a surprise to many, as he had two seasons of eligibility remaining and stated his hope to win a national championship with the Nittany Lions. However, Parsons decided the risk was not worth it.

In the video, Parsons also announced he will be graduating early and receiving his degree in December in order to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds with an estimated 4.4-second 40-yard dash, he is a potential top-10 pick in next year’s draft.

Meanwhile, Parsons wasn't the only likely first-round pick to decide to skip the season. Miami defensive end Greg Rousseau has also decided to opt out. The redshirt sophomore had 15 1/2 sacks last season for the Hurricanes and two forced fumbles. No returning college football player had more sacks than Rousseau last season. Only Chase Young had more (16.5).

The trend is excelerating. Rousseau and Parsons join Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley and Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman as four potential first-round picks to all opt out of the upcoming season.

Parsons was a five-star prospect from Harrisburg, Pa. and the highest-rated player ever recruited by head coach James Franklin. He led the team with 82 tackles as a freshman and had a standout sophomore season in 2019 with 109 tackles, 14 for loss and five sacks. He earned All-American honors, was selected as Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and was a Butkus Award finalist.

Now Penn State will have to carry on their season without Parsons. The Nittany Lions ranked seventh in the Preseason Coaches Poll released on Thursday. With the new Big Ten schedule released on Wednesday, they will now open their season at home against Northwestern on Sept. 5 and will host rival Maryland on Oct. 17.

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