FAU Football: Two more players opt-out of 2020 season and Willie Taggart confirms 11 positive COVID-19 cases within the program

Practice was canceled on Tuesday due to the positive tests.


With the news, that now makes five confirmed opt-outs for the Owls this season. Photo by Alex Liscio.

Jensen Jennings, Sports Editor

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Eyin Cole and freshman defensive back Jaylon Worsham have both decided to opt-out of the 2020 football season. This was announced by head coach Willie Taggart on the same day he said the football program “had like 11″ positive COVID-19 tests.

The news comes after FAU canceled its practice Tuesday after the program “received positive COVID-19 test results for a number of student-athletes late on Monday,” according to a press release from FAU athletics. 

“We had like 11 positives, more than we’ve ever had [before], which was a little alarming for us,” Taggart said during his press conference today. “We’ve been tested regularly, and it hadn’t been that way before.” 

The last time FAU had to pause its football practices was on Aug. 21 when three players had tested positive for COVID-19. 

This is the largest reported case total by FAU football to date and it happened while the school reported they had over 100 positive COVID-19 cases. 

FAU still doesn’t know how many players in total they might be missing in Saturday’s season opener against Georgia Southern. The team is still awaiting further testing results and the number of players impacted by contact tracing. 

“We’re still working with student health [services] now to make sure we’re good in every aspect,” Taggart said. 

With Cole deciding to opt for the season, FAU will be down a total of three wide receivers. Cordel Littlejohn also opted out of the season and John Mitchell injured his knee and will be out for the season.

Cole was expected to have an impact on the field this season after he tore his ACL last year in fall camp during his true freshman season. 

Losing Worsham will also deliver a blow to the defensive backs, as he joins cornerback La’Darius Henry and safety Quran Hafiz who have also decided to opt-out of the 2020 season. 

Despite the number of positive tests, opt-outs, and possible losses from further positive tests and contact tracing, FAU is still expected to play on Saturday against Georgia Southern. 

“That all depends on if we have enough guys to play at certain positions,” Taggart said. “As of now we do, and we’re planning on playing.” 

Georgia Southern has also been dealing with COVID-19 cases of its own. During the Eagles 27-26 win over Campbell last weekend, it was reported that 33 players would miss the game. Not all of the 33 reported players missed because of a positive COVID-19 test or contact tracing. 

FAU will kick off its 2020 season this weekend against Georgia Southern in Statesboro, GA. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN. 

Jensen Jennings is the sports editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Jensen_Jennings.