As the college football season draws closer, the number of players choosing to not play keeps rising. Most recently we have seen ten players from UCF opt out, including two starters, as well as Jamie Newman, the guy most thought would start the season as Georgia’s quarterback after transferring in from Wake Forest.
Clemson has yet to have a single player choose to opt out. Being frank, there are a number of guys, including Trevor Lawrence, who could absolutely choose to go that route and it would be understandable.
Lawrence is considered the odds on favorite to go number one overall in next April’s NFL Draft. Outside of his love for the game and the thrill of competition, there isn’t a lot to play for if you’re a guy like Lawrence.
However, Lawrence doesn’t see it that way. Nor do the rest of the leaders on this Clemson team, specifically the seniors.
“Us as seniors, the seniors straight up looked at each other, even Trevor, and said, ‘We’re not opting out,'” Fifth year senior Nyles Pinckney said on Tuesday. “We want to play. This is what we want to do.”
Pinckney made sure to point out that keeping guys dialed in hasn’t been an issue throughout fall camp. He insists that currently no one is even considering not playing, and the team is focused solely on winning football games.
“It’s not even like keeping everybody locked in,” Pinckney said. “Because everybody who’s here wants to be here and wants to play. So there’s not really anybody even thinking about opting out now.”
This group of players on this Clemson team have a unique love for the game. Why else would guys like Lawrence, Travis Etienne, or even the fifth year senior Pinckney be planning to suit up and play each and every week in the middle of a pandemic.
“So it’s not really like we’re trying to make anybody stay or anything like that,” Pinckney said. “Like Coach Swinney said, we’re not forcing anybody here. If you want to play, you’re gonna play and it’s like you love it. We all love the game and everybody here wants to be here.”