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2 Duke football players opt out of 2020 season

Head coach David Cutcliffe's squad will be undermanned heading into the 2020 campaign.
Head coach David Cutcliffe's squad will be undermanned heading into the 2020 campaign.

All over the country, college football programs are experiencing a wealth of student-athletes opt out of the upcoming season due to COVID-19 and other concerns. 

Duke won't be any different.

Redshirt senior long snapper Ben Wyatt and redshirt junior offensive guard Jacob Rimmer are opting out of the 2020 season, head coach David Cutcliffe announced in a press conference Friday morning.

"We do have two players that have made tough decisions that they just weren't comfortable [playing] in the environment of this virus, and we certainly support them," Cutcliffe said. "We support those types of decisions, and all of them know that."

Wyatt, the team's starting long snapper, has seen action in all of the Blue Devils' 38 games over the past three seasons. Rimmer, meanwhile, has only appeared in three games throughout his career.

Both athletes will remain as Duke students and will be on scholarship.

Cutcliffe said that senior John Taylor, who has handled the Blue Devils' short snapping duties the past two years, will take over for Wyatt at the long snapper position.

"[Taylor] knows our entire operation in punt," Cutcliffe said. "He can direct traffic out there, he's talented...I think Ben, in fact, knew that he wasn't just walking away and leaving us.... I feel good about John, really good."

The NCAA's Board of Directors announced Wednesday a new update regarding COVID-19 guidelines, including the fact that "all student-athletes must be allowed to opt out of participation due to concerns about contracting COVID-19. If a college athlete chooses to opt out, that individual’s athletics scholarship commitment must be honored by the college or university."

Jake C. Piazza contributed reporting.


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