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Concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic has led to multiple college football players opting out of the season, including Virginia Tech star defensive back Caleb Farley and Minnesota stud wide receiver Rashod Bateman. What about the game’s biggest stars, though? Well, one of them has made it clear he’s sticking around.
Ohio State junior quarterback Justin Fields spoke with the media on Tuesday after being named a team captain in 2020, and he shared his take on his immediate future while shooting down the possibility of skipping this season.
“As far as opting out, I mean, I can see where those guys are coming from, but I never thought about opting out,” he said, according to 247Sports.com.
Fields went on to share his perspective on the wave of players choosing to bail on college football this season and prepare for the NFL Draft.
“I really feel like people have different situations in whether they should opt out or not,” he said. “Some people’s families might not be as financially stable as others. Plus, me growing up as a kid, I’ve always been a competitor and I’ve always loved to play football. Me just growing up with my family, I never really needed anything. My family has provided me with everything I’ve needed. So, getting to money as fast as I can isn’t really a priority for me. Just playing with my teammates and grinding every day with [strength and conditioning] coach Mick [Marotti] during workouts and working on plays and stuff like that, that’s what I’m cherishing the most right now.”
Fields threw for 3,273 yards, rushed for 484 yards and accounted for 51 touchdowns (41 passing, 10 rushing) in 2019 — his first as a starting quarterback in college football. He led his Buckeyes to the Big Ten title and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl national semifinal, where they lost to Clemson.
Fields finished third in Heisman Trophy voting in 2019 behind former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and former Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts. William Hill Sportsbook currently lists Fields as the favorite to take home the sport’s most prestigious award in 2020 at +350. It’ll be interesting to see if other players decide to follow Fields’ lead — most notably Clemson star quarterback and fellow Heisman hopeful Trevor Lawrence, who has the second-best odds in the country at +400.