Citing COVID-19 concerns, two Iowa Hawkeyes opt out of 2020 football season

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central
Djimon Colbert, right, is shown during interviews prior to the Holiday Bowl in December.

Kirk Ferentz had been waiting for final paperwork to make an announcement, and now there is official news: Two Iowa Hawkeyes will be opting out of the 2020 football season.

Fourth-year linebacker Djimon Colbert and second-year defensive lineman Taajhir McCall will not play or participate in team activities for the 2020 season. The university made the announcement after 5 p.m. Monday and said the players were opting out over concerns about the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Colbert’s decision was first reported last week by Hawkeye Nation. His loss is significant, with 23 career starts and 113 tackles under his belt. Colbert is a two-year starter at weak-side linebacker, though he was expected to be pushed for a first-team role this fall by veteran Nick Niemann (who replaced him in the Holiday Bowl) and up-and-coming linebacker Jack Campbell, among others. Colbert remains in good standing with the Hawkeyes and can return in 2021.

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We haven’t heard as much about McCall. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound native of Pensacola, Florida, redshirted last season. Players opting out do not lose their athletic scholarship.

Twenty-two Hawkeye players are scheduled to meet with Iowa media via Zoom calls on Tuesday and Wednesday. Iowa’s season opener is scheduled for Oct. 24 at Purdue.