It has become an annual ritual in the world of college football for star players to announce that they will not play in their team’s bowl games prior to the NFL draft.
This year will be no different. Players will announce that with the regular season over, and only one bowl game left, they will turn their attention to the 2022 NFL Draft in hopes of staying healthy and spending time concentrating on preparing for the draft.
Even with NIL agreements in place at the college level now, multiple players will make the decision not to risk their professional soccer careers in one last hurray with their college.
Which players have made the decision? Sporting News will follow up on the top names to announce that they will not participate in the bowling games.
College Soccer Players Jumping Bowl Games
- Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
- Arkansas WR Treylon Burks
- SMU WR Reggie Roberson
- SMU WR Danny Gray
- Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton
- Notre Dame RB Kyren Williams
- Michigan state
So far, there have been several key players who have announced that they will skip their bowl games and prepare for the NFL Draft.
Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, considered a possible No. 1 overall pick, announced on Instagram on Dec. 6 that he will forgo the Ducks’ trip to the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 against No. 16 Oklahoma, and instead it will begin to prepare. for the NFL Draft.
The star defensive end finished his season with seven sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 49 total tackles and two forced fumbles. Thibodeaux is a finalist for the Bednarik Award and the Bronco Nagurski Trophy.
His decision to resign from his team’s bowl game comes on the same day that Oregon coach Mario Cristobal announced that he would be leaving the Ducks to fill the head coach position in Miami.
Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks announced that he would opt out, announcing his decision on Dec. 8 that he will not play Penn State in the Outback Bowl. Burks had a stellar season in 2021, finishing the season with 1,104 receiving yards on 66 receptions, including 11 touchdowns. He also rushed 14 times for 112 yards and scored another touchdown on the ground.
A couple of fellow SMUs announced that they would skip the Fenway Bowl. Wide receiver Reggie Roberson was the first to make his announcement, followed by teammate Danny Gray. Gray led the team with 803 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on 49 receptions, while Roberson was third with 625 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 51 receptions.
Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton said on Twitter that he would skip Fighting Irish’s Fiesta Bowl matchup against Oklahoma State as he prepares for the NFL Draft. Hamilton, who was just named a Walter Camp First Team All-American, finished the 2021 season with 34 tackles and three interceptions.
Shortly after Hamilton announced his decision, Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams announced that he, too, would miss the Fiesta Bowl. Williams was the Fighting Irish’s leading running back for the second consecutive season, reaching 1,002 yards rushing with 14 touchdowns on 204 carries. He also caught 42 passes for 359 yards with three more TDs.
In addition to Hamilton, another star running back announced that he was skipping his team’s bowl game at Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III. Walker, an SN All-American who finished sixth in this year’s Heisman voting, will not play in the Peach Bowl against Pitt and will instead prepare for the NFL Draft. Walker finished the year with 1,646 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground averaging 6.2 yards per carry. He was second in the nation in rushing yards and second in the Big Ten in rushing touchdowns.
This post will be updated as more players announce their intentions to skip bowling.