It has become an annual ritual in the college football world for star players to announce they will not be playing in their team’s bowl games ahead of the NFL draft.
This year will be no different. Players will announce that with the regular season concluded, and only a bowl game left, they are going to turn their attention to the 2022 NFL Draft in the hopes of staying healthy and spending time to focus on preparing for the draft.
Even with NIL deals in place at the college level now, several players will make the decision to not risk their pro football careers in a last hurrah with their college.
Which players have made the decision? Sporting News will be tracking the top names to announce they won’t be playing in bowl games.
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College football players skipping 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
So far, there have been just one player announce he will skip his team’s bowl game.
Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, considered a potential 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 begin to prepare for the NFL Draft.
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The star defensive end finished his season with seven sacks, 12 tackels for loss, 49 total tackles and two forced fumbles. Thibodeaux is a Bednarik Award and Bronco Nagurski Trophy finalist.
His decision to forgo his team’s bowl game comes the same day Oregon coach, Mario Cristobal, announced he would be leaving the Ducks to take the head coaching position at Miami.
Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks announced that he would opt out, announcing his decision on Dec. 8 that he will not play against Penn State in the Outback Bowl. Burks had a stellar 2021 campaign, finishing the season with 1,104 receiving yards on 66 catches, including 11 touchdowns. He also rushed 14 times for 112 yards and scored another touchdown on the ground.
A pair of SMU teammates both announced they would be skipping the Fenway Bowl. Wide receiver Reggie Roberson was the first to make his announcement, followed by fellow wideout Danny Gray. Gray led the team with 803 receiving yards and nine receiving touhdowns on 49 catches, 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 be skipping the 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 be missing the Fiesta Bowl. Williams was the leading rusher for the Fighting Irish for the second straight season, reaching 1,002 yards on the ground with 14 touchdowns on 204 carries. He also caught 42 passes for 359 yards with three more scores.
This post will be updated as more players announce their intentions to skip bowl games.