LSU star Ja’Marr Chase, nation’s top WR, picks offseason and will declare himself for 2021 NFL Draft

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LSU star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase has informed the team that he is opting out of the 2020 college football season to focus on his professional career, sources familiar with the situation told CBS Sports on Sunday. Chase confirmed his departure from LSU in a lengthy social media statement on Monday, although he did not state the specific intention to declare himself for the 2021 NFL Draft.

“The competitor in me really wants to play the season and go to war with my brothers, but during this time with so much going on, it’s best for my family,” Chase wrote in his statement. “… I can’t ignore what I’m feeling in my heart, and it’s ultimately the best decision for me. I can’t wait to get back on the pitch in 2021. ”

Sources told CBS Sports on Sunday that Chase’s decision was not specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather, it is believed that agents simply convinced Chase to leave before his third college season. NFL rules state that a player cannot be drafted until three years after graduating from high school.

Chase, a rising junior, is the most notable college football player to retire from the 2020 season. The unanimous All-America First Team selection set SEC records last season for touchdowns (20) and yards on reception (1780). He won the Biletnikoff Prize awarded each year to the country’s top receiver.

Chase is expected to be the first wide selected in the 2021 NFL Draft and could be one of the top five picks.

The former 6-foot, 208-pound five-star prospect from Harvey, Louisiana played two seasons at LSU.

Combining with quarterback Joe Burrow, Chase helped the engineer post one of the best seasons in college football history last year. The Tigers were 15-0 after beating Clemson in the National College Football Playoff Championship. In that game, Chase had nine passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns.

Now there needs to be more rebuilding with quarterback Myles Brennan taking over from Burrow and LSU expected not to have its best point guard when the SEC fall season kicks off on September 26.

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