Ten UCF Players Opt Out of 2020 Football Season Due to Coronavirus Concerns

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The list of college football players opting out of the 2020 season continues to grow after 10 UCF players have chosen to not play this fall.

Coach Josh Heupel announced Tuesday that the group, which includes projected starters Tay Gowan (cornerback) and Kalia Davis (defensive tackle), have opted out due to coronavirus concerns.

"Everybody's perspective and situation with COVID is different," Heupel told reporters Tuesday. "It's the most unique thing that most of us have ever encountered in our lifetime. We've tried to educate our guys continuously as to what the best practices are, educate them on what we're doing here to keep them as safe as possible. Each of these kids who chose to opt out have different reasons behind their decisions. They're valid, they're real and we support those guys and we'll continue to help them."

Gowan, who transferred to UCF in 2019, finished last season with 31 tackles, two interceptions, eight passes broken up and one fumble recovery in 12 games. Davis tallied eight tackles for loss, three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 2019.

Other Knights choosing to sit out in 2020 include quarterback Darriel Mack Jr., cornerback Devunte Dawson, defensive back Elijah Benoit, defensive linemen Mason Cholewa and Kendrick Wilson and offensive linemen Allan Adams, Lamarius Benson and Adrian Medley. 

Heupel confirmed Quadry Jones will step into the backup role behind starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel with Mack out. He said Jones was getting "equal reps" with Mack before the QB opted out of the season.

Other notable players across college football who have chosen to opt-out in 2020 include LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, Virginia Tech quarterback Caleb Farley, Illinois running back Ra'Von Bonner, Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons and Michigan State defensive end Jacub Panasiuk.

On Monday, the Knights were named the American Athletic Conference's preseason favorite in a poll of media members, receiving 10 of 20 first-place votes. UFC was ranked No. 21 in the preseason AP Top 25.

The Knights are scheduled to open their season against Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Sept. 19.