Caleb Farley made himself a test case, when he became the first college player to opt out of the fall season to prepare himself for the NFL Draft.
And while he admitted the decision was a tough one for him, the combination of the lack of testing he saw at his college and a desire to keep his family safe made it one he’s “totally at peace” with now.
The potential first-round cornerback wrote for NBC’s Football Morning in America about his choice.
“This year at Virginia Tech, at our workouts, I started having deep concerns about staying healthy,” Farley said. “Guys were going home, going to Myrtle Beach, coming back to campus, and we weren’t getting tested. We’re all together, working out, close to each other, and you have no real idea who might have it, if anybody might have it. One day I looked around, and we were like 100-deep in our indoor facility, no masks. My concern grew more and more.”
During his freshman year at Virginia Tech, Farley tore his ACL. While that was an athletic hurdle, he said he was grateful for the time he spent with his mother as she battled breast cancer, and he was by her bedside when she passed away in January 2018. Farley said that absence, and his father’s health weighed on his mind.
“I started being really conflicted about playing,” he said. “What this came down to is, I lost one parent. My dad is so important to me. Growing old with him means so much to me, more than football. I don’t know what I would do if I contracted it and gave it to him, and he passed. I couldn’t live with that. Part of me thought, I put all my eggs into this basket [football] since I was 6 years old . . . just suck it up and play. Try to stay safe. But I couldn’t ignore all the doubts in my head.
“People say I could have waited till the NCAA cancelled the season and then just not play. Or play a few games and then announce I was opting out. But I couldn’t do that. I knew what I had to do.”
Last Monday, he told Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente his decision, and Farley said Fuente initially tried to talk him out of the decision. Now, he’s preparing for next spring’s Scouting Combine, where he will doubtless be questioned about it.