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Michigan State defensive end Jacub Panasiuk opts out of 2020 season, plans to redshirt and return in 2021

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 30 Maryland at Michigan State Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Michigan State Spartans senior defensive end Jacub Panasiuk will opt of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, but plans to redshirt and complete his career in East Lansing in 2021.

Panasiuk is the first Spartan to announce an opt out. He has played in 38 career games, including 13 as a true freshman, so he is yet to burn his redshirt. But honestly, who could blame Panasiuk for this decision? It is not safe to play as things currently stand, and there is a strong possibility the 2020 fall season won’t start, let alone finish, at all.

If the season is played, this is a big blow for Michigan State. The Spartans already have to replace eight starters on defense from 2019, and Panasiuk was locked in a starting defensive end. In fact, he was the highest-graded returning pass rusher in the entire Big Ten, according to Pro Football Focus.

For a team that is likely to struggle and be overmatched on the field more often than not with the Big Ten Conference-only schedule, losing Panasiuk will make even the most optimistic MSU fan question how successful the Spartans can be this season. Panasiuk has started 23 consecutive games, and throughout the duration of his entire career, has amassed 80 tackles, 18.5 for a loss, eight sacks and four forced fumbles.

With MSU slated to start fall camp at the end of the week (Friday, Aug. 7), it will be interesting to see if Panasiuk’s decision inspires any other Spartans to opt out. We’ll keep you updated.