Whenever the Pac-12 resumes play, it will do so without one of its best players on the field.
Penei Sewell, the starting left tackle for Oregon, announced Monday that he will not return to college football and will begin preparing for the 2021 NFL draft. The 6-foot-6, 330-pound junior will likely be a first-round selection, and could be the first tackle off the board.
“There are no words to adequately express how blessed I feel for having played football for the past two seasons at the best school in the country, the University of Oregon,” Sewell wrote. “The love and support I’ve received has been overwhelming and I could not be more grateful. But ever since I was little, I have dreamt of playing professional football. Accordingly, after long thought, prayer and many conversations with my family, I have decided to opt out of the 2020-21 college football season and prepare for the 2021 NFL draft.”
Sewell’s full message is below:
Sewell was ranked the No. 60 player in the country by Rivals.com in the 2018 class. He quickly emerged as the Ducks’ starter at left tackle as a true freshman, earning various freshman All-America honors. In 2019, Sewell became the first sophomore offensive lineman to win the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s best interior lineman. He also earned consensus first-team All-America honors and helped Oregon win the Pac-12 title.
Over two seasons and 1,376 snaps at Oregon, Sewell allowed just one sack. He started every game he played while in Eugene.
Sewell was set to lead the Ducks up front yet again in 2020, but the Pac-12’s decision to postpone the football season due to the coronavirus pandemic led to his decision to opt out of the season.
It is not immediately clear when the Pac-12 will resume play, but conference commissioner Larry Scott said last week that its new rapid COVID-19 testing partnership has sped up the league’s timeline to return to action. It’s possible that Pac-12 football could resume at some point during the 2020 calendar year.
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