Caleb Farley

Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley, a former quarterback, is projected as a first-round selection in the next NFL draft.

Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley, one of the nation’s best cornerbacks, will not participate this season if college football is played.

Farley will turn his attention to training for next year’s NFL draft.

Farley sent a video to ESPN with the following statement:

“After much consideration with my family, I have decided to opt out of the 2020 college football season and begin preparing for the 2021 NFL draft. I am opting out due to uncertain health conditions and regulations, and all the other opt-outs going on in football right now. I tragically lost my mother Robin, Jan. 2, 2018, to illness, and I cannot afford to lose another parent or loved one.

“Though the competitor in me badly wants to play this season, I cannot ignore what’s going on in my heart and I must make the decision that brings me the most peace. So thank you Virginia Tech, my coaches and teammates, and anybody else who has supported me in the past. I wish you all the best. Stay safe, and God bless.”

Farley participated in a walk-through Wednesday in Blacksburg.

He was named to the preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defensive player of the year), Bednarik Award (nation’s top defensive player) and Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back) this month.

The defensive back was named first-team all-ACC last year with a league-leading 16 passes defended and was second in the conference with four interceptions. The redshirt junior missed the final two games of the season including the Belk Bowl with a back injury. He had offseason back surgery and was expected to miss spring camp. He sat out as a true freshman as a knee injury, but has started 23 games the last two seasons.

Draft experts considered the 6-foot-2 207-pounder as a potential first-round pick for next season.

Pro Football Focus, an analytics website, graded Farley as the fourth-best returning player in the ACC behind only Duke defensive end Chris Rumph, Clemson running back Travis Etienne and Louisville receiver Tutu Atwell.

According to PFF, Farley was targeted 50 times last season and quarterbacks finished the season with a quarterback rating of 29.2 when trying to throw at him. The site noted that quarterbacks receive a 39.6 quarterback rating for spiking the ball.

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