Northwestern has announced that four players have made the decision to opt out of the 2020 season. All four will retain their scholarships with the football program.

Defensive lineman Samdup Miller, quarterback Aidan Smith, safety Travis Whillock and tight end Jason Whittaker have made the decision to opt out of playing this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program released a statement on Friday.

“We completely support the decision each young man made during the spring and summer as they evaluated their personal circumstances,” said head coach Pat Fitzgerald. “All four Wildcats have been outstanding teammates throughout their time in our program. Nothing about the support we promised their families during recruitment will waver, with the full complement of scholarship, academic, sports medicine and professional development resources available.”

Miller has been a major contributor along the defensive line over the last three seasons, credited with 114 tackles, 17.5 stops for loss, 7.5 sacks and 4 pass break-ups. Whillock has also played a major role for the Wildcats over the last two years, totaling 135 tackles and 5 pass break-ups.

Smith was one of four quarterbacks to play at Northwestern during the 2019 season. He finished the year throwing for 760 yards with 3 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.

Whittaker appeared in two contests for the Cats during the 2019 season.

Northwestern is scheduled to open the 2020 season against Maryland on Saturday, Oct. 24.