Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth said Wednesday that he will play football this season, adding that he never opted out as previously reported.
Freiermuth, the All-American tight end, joined coach James Franklin during a Big Ten Network interview about the conference's decision to resume its 2020 football season.
"Obviously there were some reports out there about me opting out, but I never opted out," Freiermuth said. "I don't know where those reports came from, but I stayed consistent and trusted coach Franklin that he could get the job done and I'm just excited to play football again for Penn State and I can't wait for the season."
Freiermuth said he had an "open dialogue" with Franklin about returning after the season had been postponed. Ultimately Freiermuth decided to return, as he did following the 2019 season.
"At the end of the day I came back for a reason," Freiermuth said. "To play for Penn State, to compete with my brothers on the team and evidently we have the opportunity to do that. So I'm going to continue to play football for Penn State."
Freiermuth's return is a big boost for an offense that returns its starting quarterback, top two running backs and four offensive linemen but needs a veteran pass-catcher. Freiermuth caught 43 passes last season, eight for touchdowns, and has 15 touchdown receptions at Penn State.
Though eligible to enter the 2020 NFL draft, Freiermuth decided he wasn't ready to leave Penn State, at least not after the 2019 season. He wanted more time to develop as a tight end, another chance to win a national championship and just more time in college.
"I just wasn't ready to live by myself and handle responsibilities as a young adult that I have to do in the world living by myself," Freiermuth said before the Cotton Bowl.
Now he'll have that.
"For him to come back, I wanted him to be 100 percent on board with that decision," Franklin said.
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