Finding a better pass catcher than LSU Tigers wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase last season was impossible. There wasn't a single wideout in college football that put up the kind of numbers he did. The All-American and 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner still had one more year to dominate in Baton Rouge, but that won't happen.
As first reported by CBS Sports' Dennis Dodds, Chase decided to opt of the upcoming college football season. It became official on August 31. He's gone.
As if losing Joe Burrow and a host of players from last year's championship team to the NFL wasn't already tough enough this preseason, head coach Ed Orgeron now has to replace one of the biggest superstars he had coming back.
LSU WR Ja'Marr Chase Opts Out of 2020 Season
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) August 30, 2020
LSU star receiver Ja'Marr Chase had big plans heading into the 2020 fall season. He was going to rep LSU's iconic No. 7 jersey and continue to climb up the school and SEC record books. The Harvey, Louisiana native now has even bigger things in mind.
Chase's decision is not specifically related to the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 outbreak, according to CBS Sports, but rather to focus on the 2021 NFL Draft.
LSU defensive lineman Neil Farrell and cornerback Kary Vincent have also opted out of the upcoming NCAA season, according to ESPN.
As a sophomore in 2019, Chase recorded 84 catches for 1,780 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns to help the Tigers win the College Football Playoff National Championship against Clemson. He had 23 catches for 313 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman.
Simply put, his production and amazing catches will be missed.
Then, the day after the report surfaced, Chase penned a heartfelt letter to Tiger Nation and college football.
"First and foremost, I have to thank my teammates, coaches, amazing LSU fans and everyone else who has supported me to this point. It is truly an honor to represent this university, community and the great state of Louisiana.
"We are living in such an unprecedented time, and despite the ongoing pandemic, my teammates and I have worked hard this offseason preparing to defend our national championship. We know the expectations in front of us and are doing all that we can to accept the challenge, working toward new goals we set for ourselves individually and as a team.
"Personally, words cannot describe the great honor I have felt to wear the LSU uniform and the #7. I appreciate each and every one of my teammates for your hard work and pushing me to get better every day. There is nothing I want to do more than suit up in #7 for the LSU Tigers. However, after careful consideration and many emotional conversations with my family, I have come to a difficult decision and will opt out of the 2020 season.
"The competitor in me badly wants to play the season and go to war with my brothers, but during this time with so much going on, this is what's best for my family. I also understand the responsibility of being chosen to wear the #7 jersey, and that's an honor that I don't take for granted. I have been fighting the thoughts and concerns that have crept into my mind but I cannot ignore what I feel in my heart and this ultimately is the best decision for me. I'll look forward to returning to the field in 2021.
Although his LSU football career appears over sooner than expected, it was a always a treat to watch Ja'Marr Chase play.
This post was originally published on August 30, 2020 before updating.
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