Two years ago, former LSU and Stanford running backs Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey ignited national controversy when they decided to sit out their team’s respective bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft.
Both players were touted as potential first-round draft choices — they both ended up going in the top 10 — and did not want to risk their health with an inevitable high-end salary within reach. Many viewed this as letting their team down; others saw it as a business decision.
Now it’s becoming commonplace.
So far, eight marquee players from across the country have already announced that they will not be suiting up for the postseason and instead will focus on draft preparations. Two of them are from the Big Ten in Michigan defensive tackle Rashan Gary and Iowa tight end Noah Fant. Per Yahoo! Sports:
Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan: In three seasons at Michigan, Gary combined for 119 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. Gary, the nation’s top recruit in 2016, missed three games earlier this season with a shoulder injury and now will sit out the Peach Bowl vs. Florida.
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa: In three seasons at Iowa, Fant caught 78 passes for 1,082 yards and 19 touchdowns. He could be the first tight end selected in the 2019 draft. Fant will skip the Outback Bowl vs. Mississippi State.
If you’re a 20-something-year-old young adult told by draft experts you are all but guaranteed to sign a multi-million dollar contract in May and your college team isn’t competing for a national championship, you’re going to do what you have to do to ensure you’re ready. I know what I’d do (and 95 percent of the population, for that matter).
This list is going to continue to grow, so make sure you keep an eye on Yahoo! Sports’ ticker for updates.