UCF coach Josh Heupel announced Tuesday that 10 Knights players, including standout cornerback Tay Gowan and backup quarterback Darriel Mack Jr., have opted out of the 2020 season.
The others: defensive linemen Mason Cholewa, Kalia Davis and Kendrick Wilson; offensive linemen Allan Adams, Lamarius Benson and Adrian Medley; and defensive backs Devunte Dawson and Elijah Benoit.
Gowan (two interceptions and eight pass breakups in 2019) and Davis (27 tackles, eight tackles for loss) were the only projected starters in the group. Mack stepped in late in the 2018 season after McKenzie Milton’s horrific knee injury, and led UCF to a 56-41 victory against Memphis in the American Athletic Conference title game.
“Everybody’s perspective and situation with (COVID-19) is different, and they’re all valid and real,” coach Josh Heupel said in a virtual session with reporters Tuesday.
“Each of these kids that chose to opt out have different reasons behind their decision. ... We support those guys and continue to help them. Obviously they’re going to be away from our program and that type of thing, but we’ll continue to help them in other areas of their life.”
The American Athletic Conference has indicated all athletes who opt out of fall sports because of COVID-19 concerns will have their scholarships honored.
USF announced in August that seven players had opted out for the 2020 season, though one — defensive end Thomas Nance — has returned to the team.