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Miami DE Greg Rousseau, a potental first-round NFL draft pick, opts out of 2020 season

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Greg Rousseau’s Miami career appears to be over.

Miami coach Manny Diaz said Thursday that his team’s star defensive end would be opting out of the 2020 college football season because of the coronavirus pandemic. A redshirt sophomore, Rousseau was entering his third year with Miami, meaning he can enter the 2021 NFL draft.

“He’s looking forward to his dreams of being a great player in the National Football League,” Diaz told reporters. “As a coach we work for these young men, are advocates are them, want what’s best for him. We’ll support that. Our guys, it’ll be next man up. Our guys will be excited to play. They’ll be supportive of Greg as well.”

Rousseau was second only to Chase Young with 15.5 sacks in 2019. The redshirt freshman emerged as one of the best pass rushers in the country and was a potential All-American entering the year. Young went No. 2 overall to Washington in the 2020 NFL draft. Another solid season for Rousseau would have made him a top pick in 2021. And he still likely should be.

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Rousseau is the third star defensive player to opt out of the 2020 season because of the pandemic. He follows Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons and Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley. And there will likely be more players who choose not to play.

It’s hard to fault a player for skipping the season to prepare for the draft; especially a player who is staring at the potential of being an early-round pick. There’s no guarantee that a college football season will happen in 2020 and as we’ve seen with outbreaks at programs across the country, there’s no guarantee that teams will be able to prevent players from getting coronavirus.

Without Rousseau, Miami’s returning pass rush is even more depleted than it expected. The Hurricanes are now entering the season with players who accounted for nearly 40 sacks no longer on the roster. Miami’s leading returning sack leader is now cornerback Gurvan Hall. He had two sacks in 2020.

University of Miami lineman Gregory Rousseau wears the turnover chain against Central Michigan during the first half of their game on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Miami's Greg Rousseau was second in sacks in 2019. (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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