Ja'Marr Chase, college football's top wide receiver in 2019, is "locked in" on playing football in the upcoming season, according to his father, Jimmy.
The 6-foot, 208-pound playmaker is not focusing on opting out of the 2020 season during the coronavirus pandemic, Jimmy said, which is a decision that a few of the nation's top collegiate players have already made.
The news was first reported by 247Sports.
Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman, a third-team All-American in 2019 and a projected first-round draft pick, opted out of the season Tuesday, joining Illinois running back Ra'Von Bonner, Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley and Washington State wide receiver Kassidy Woods.
The Southeastern Conference announced in mid-July that its players can opt out of the season if they had health concerns and they would not lose their scholarships — an action that was recommended by the league's athletic directors and approved unanimously by the league's presidents and chancellors.
Chase's commitment to play is significant for LSU. He is expected to be one of the top wide receivers selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. He set several records in LSU's national championship season last year, was named a unanimous All-American and won the Biletnikoff Award for nation's top wide receiver.
The Rummel High graduate set SEC single-season records for most yards receiving (1,780) and touchdowns (20), and he is expected to be one of the top targets for projected starting quarterback Myles Brennan in 2020.
The climate of college football still remains in flux. Early Wednesday morning, Connecticut became the first FBS program to announce it was canceling its football season. The former American Athletic Conference member was about to begin its first season as an independent program.
Moments after the Big Ten Conference released the details of its 10-game league schedule Wednesday, an organization called College Athlete Unity expressed the concerns of over 1,000 Big Ten football players about the upcoming season and posted a proposal intended to better protect the players.
The CAU's move echoed the movement a large group of players within the Pac-12 Conference made last weekend, when players threatened to boycott fall practices and games if their demands for safety, racial justice and compensation were not met by the league.
No such movement has been as pronounced in the SEC, although several players within the league's student-leadership council voiced concerns during a confidential meeting last week. League commissioner Greg Sankey has since addressed the meeting, saying in a statement "we will work diligently to make the right decisions, with the best information available, in a dynamic and changing environment."
The SEC announced Tuesday it is backing up preseason camp to Aug. 17, which is 10 days after LSU was planning to begin practice.
The SEC is expected to announce the details of its updated 10-game, league-only schedule this week.