Photo Credit: Jake Roth
Caleb Farley stunned the college football world this past week when he told ESPN's Adam Schefter that he was opting out of the 2020 season and declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft. Farley wasn't the first Power 5 CFB player to do so (that distinction belongs to Illinois RB Ra'Von Bonner), but he was definitely the most high-profile CFB player to date with Minnesota WR Rashod Batemen among the notable players to opt out since Farley's announcement.
Farley's decision caught almost everyone off guard, but followed the trend that had started in the NFL of players choosing to opt out of the upcoming season.
The question that always is raised is whether his decision was the right decision or not?
Most people understood the reasoning behind Farley's decision with the star cornerback mentioning that his heart wasn't in it due to concerns about health policies along with protecting the health of his family, especially after losing his mom to cancer just a couple years ago.
Here is former Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley’a announcement that he is opting out of the college football season to train and turn pro, sent to ESPN: pic.twitter.com/5j4FmQvGKy— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 29, 2020
Combine that with already having proven that he is a future first round pick, and the response has been overwhelmingly (and rightfully) supportive with most believing he made the right decision.
But the real reason why Caleb Farley made the right decision is not the one that has been talked about.
No, the reason why Caleb Farley made the right decision was because it was his decision.
Farley's video shows the split that he had between his competitive nature wanting to play this upcoming season and his personal concerns about endangering both himself and his family by playing this season.
However, he clearly did a lot of reserach and thought prior to making his decision, something that shows in this quote from his piece for NBC Sports earlier this week.
"So last Monday night, I went to Coach [Justin] Fuente’s office. I was so nervous. I just took a deep breath and told him my decision. He tried to talk me out of it. But I was firm. What I will always respect about Coach Fuente is, he said he loved me and will always be a Caleb Farley fan. That meant the world to me."
The fact that Farley was "firm" about his decision and able to do so in person makes it clear that Farley did his research on all sides of this, but listened to his heart and gut, and made what he felt was the best decision.
On a side note, there's no surprise that a head coach would want to give his thoughts and make sure his player has all the information he needs before making a big decision, but also supportive of Farley whether he is playing for the Hokies this fall or now, preparing for his NFL career and training away from Blacksburg.
Additionally, it's clear that Farley wasn't comfortable with what was in place to try to prevent COVID-19 from getting into the Tech locker room to the best of their abilities. While others may be more comfortable, Farley wasn't and that's completely understandable.
To try to play a contact sport like football at the highest level when you aren't comfortable is going to almost certainly hurt your performance and could cause a slightly down season that could hurt his NFL Draft stock.
Instead, Farley will still be able to train and develop both physically and mentally in prep for the 2021 NFL Draft knowing that he already has tremendous tape from the 2019 season that will benefit him. Additionally, he should be able to impress scouts with his tremendous athleticism at next year's NFL Combine, especially since he's been clocked at 24 mph, impressive for someone who's 6'2'' and almost 210 pounds.
Overall, it's clear that Caleb Farley made the best decision he could to opt out of the 2020 season because not only did he do his homework, but the decision he came to was his, and not anyone else's.
Now, it's time for Farley to go prepare for what should be a long, prosperous career. A Lane Stadium celebration of his strong two-season career can wait for 2021.