Late Monday evening, Kentucky Wildcats cornerback Kelvin Joseph made a surprising announcement that he was opting out of the season to focus on the 2021 NFL Draft.
One reason why this came as a shock was because of what Mark Stoops said earlier in the day about everyone on his team staying committed to finishing this season out.
“Listen, I understand. There’s good reasons. I’m not criticizing anybody,” Stoops said earlier in the day when asked about players opting out. “I’m proud of the fact that nobody on our team has done that, but that’s not to say that people don’t have their reasons and they’re valid and good. Each individual, each person must do what’s right for them. I think it does say a lot for our program and our team that we haven’t had anybody. And I have certainly haven’t had to sell anybody on staying. I wouldn’t do that.”
Well, it took just a few hours for that to change after Joseph announced he was opting out. Shortly after, Stoops hosted his Monday call-in show (via Josh Moore of the Herald-Leader) and revealed that Joseph wanted to sit out this week but still remain with the team.
However, Stoops said no, so Joseph decided to opt out completely and focus on the upcoming draft.
“He came in and visited with me after my press conference today,” Stoop said. “Kelvin, he’s a good young man and I appreciate what he did for us. He just didn’t, I don’t know how to phrase it. He didn’t really want to opt out but he didn’t want to play this week. I can’t just have him out there standing around saying, ‘I’m not playing in this game.’ That’s not how we’re going to do this at Kentucky.”
It’s unfortune that things ended this way, as Joseph was having a great season and should be a draftable prospect in 2021. It would have been nice to see him play against South Carolina and in a possible bowl game, as he doesn’t even have a full season worth of tape for scouts to evaluate.
Hopefully, Joseph gets to live out his NFL dreams next year.