Brian Kelly Tackles Topic of Players Potentially Sitting Out in 2020

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly tackled several topics on his appearance on GET UP with Mike Greenberg on ESPN Radio on Wednesday.  He told Greeny that Notre Dame’s phone has been ringing off the hook with programs wanting to fill its schedule.  He also tackled the topic of players potentially sitting out in 2020 if the season is delayed.

“Those conversations have already taken place with the parents, and agents are certainly talking to them about the eventuality that if the season goes late, maybe you should forgo your last season,” Kelly said. “It’s already in the minds of some players, so if this season gets pushed off, if it’s in the spring, then it’s in the hands of what the NFL is going to do with their draft.”

The topic has come up with reports of the season potentially being push to the spring if games are not able to be played this fall because of the raging pandemic throughout the country.  Kelly acknowledge these contingencies have been discussed.

“Everything is on the table at this point,” he said regarding a spring season. “I won’t get into the specifics because I don’t that anybody has a great idea of what it looks like.  I know there are some models out there, certainly, but I think that what Jack is saying, in particular, is that the models of the professional teams will give us a better understanding of, are we going to play this and do it in the fall, or do we have to scrap it, and then being to put something together for the spring.”

Should the season get pushed to the spring the issue then becomes, what do NFL draft hopefuls do?  Play the season and risk their NFL future? Or sit out and wait for the Draft – assuming the NFL Draft isn’t delayed as well?

“I would say this,” Kelly started. “If the players who are draft-eligible have an opportunity to go to the NFL, and they are draftable players, then they have to look at their future. And that means looking at the draft,” he added. “If they’re not, then they come back, and they train and get ready to play the season if it’s in the spring.”

In such a scenario, Notre Dame has several players who would have difficult decisions to make.  Take Liam Eichenberg and Tommy Kraemer, for instance.  Both are certainly draftable right now, but both are also hoping to improve their draft stock in 2020.  And how about Daelin Hayes?  He missed most of 2019 with an injury and came back in 2020 specifically to play his way up draft boards.

Ian Book would be a particularly interesting case.  He returned for a 5th year to prove to NFL scouts that he is more than just a potential NFL backup.  He probably hasn’t done enough to do that just yet, but could with a big year in 2020 that puts some of the concerns in his game to rest.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is another one.  He has a lot of buzz around him after his monster performance in the Camping World Bowl.  He is draft eligible in 2021 and has already generated some potential first-round draft buzz.  That buzz was based on JOK building off that performance with a big year this fall, though.

This issue would be facing other programs, too, of course.  Clemson, for instance, would look a whole lot different if say Trevor Lawrence or Travis Etienne sat out a spring season.

Some in the media have even started to speculate about star players sitting out a fall season if there are questions about player safety at that time.  Like everything these days, it’s a fluid topic, and there are a lot more dominoes that need to fall before this becomes a serious consideration for most players.  We know it’s something that players are already thinking about, though – Brian Kelly acknowledged that already.

You may also like


  1. I think we should still play football because it will kind of bring some normalcy and to cope with this pandemic and to have some great fun And just play without any fans ok and just to pass the time

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button