After initially deciding to opt-out of the 2020 season — prior to the Big Ten’s postponement of the fall campaign — Michigan State redshirt freshman linebacker Marcel Lewis has decided to opt back in and will now play for the Spartans after all.
Lewis’ decision comes after the Big Ten’s official announcement to reinstate the fall 2020 football season. Given that a player who tests positive will not be able to return to competition for 21 days, due to the new protocols the conference has put in place, having as much depth as possible at every position is going to be key for the Spartans.
The coronavirus took its toll on Lewis’ family, as he lost one relative due to it, and had another family member who was hospitalized due to the virus. Lewis initially announced his opt-out decision on Aug. 8.
In his tweet from today, Lewis states that more resources and developments on testing protocols is what allowed him to feel comfortable making the decision to return.
Lewis was a three-star recruit out of Chippewa Valley High School in the 2019 class. While playing in three games on special teams as a true freshman against Rutgers, Maryland and in the Pinstripe Bowl against Wake Forest, Lewis was able to preserve his redshirt. Given the blanket year of eligibility for the 2020 season grated by the NCAA, from my understanding, he still has up to five years of college eligibility remaining — student-athletes now have six years to play five seasons.
Other Spartans, such as offensive lineman Jordan Reid and Justin Stevens, and defensive end Jacub Panasiuk also announced that they were opting out earlier this summer. It will be interesting to see if these players change their minds, but who could blame them if they would still like to sit out?
The hope is that Lewis and all of these student-athletes, along with coaches and staff members, will stay safe with the conference’s in-depth new protocols, including “daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data-driven approach when making decisions about practice/competition.”
Here’s to hoping the Big Ten can pull this off without any serious health risks.