Jay Tufele opts out of USC football spring season for NFL Draft prep

USC football defensive lineman Jay Tufele. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
USC football defensive lineman Jay Tufele. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

USC football DT Jay Tufele declared for the NFL Draft early.

If or when USC football takes the field for a spring season, Jay Tufele won’t be with the Trojans.

The redshirt junior defensive tackle announced his decision to opt out of the upcoming campaign in favor of preparing for the NFL Draft on Wednesday morning.

“I have come to the point where it is time for me to do what is best for my career and family. I have decided to opt out of the upcoming football season and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft,” Tufele wrote in a Twitter post which first thanked his family, academic advisors, coaches, teammates and the Trojan family. “Although it pains me to leave all the people who have become so instrumental in my life, know that I will carry all of you with me in my heart as I embark on the next phase of my journey.”

USC football will have to cope without Jay Tufele, their best defensive lineman.

Tufele has been featured as a potential first-round selection in several mock drafts for the 2021 draft. Mel Kiper ranked him 22nd on his NFL Draft Big Board.

With that kind of draft hype following him into 2020, it’s not exactly a surprise to see him look ahead to a pro future. A hypothetical spring season could interfere with preparations for the draft if the NFL opts to keep their normal offseason dates as is.

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Unfortunately for Tufele and USC, he chose to come back for the 2020 season because of a need for continued development in the first place. While he has been a force for the Trojans in the trenches, he has lacked consistency and hoped to prove his ability to dominate across an entire season. The coronavirus pandemic and the cancelation of the fall Pac-12 season nixed that plan.


The Trojans will now go into the spring with the ceiling of the defensive line severely hampered. And Tufele may not be the last to make an early pro decision.

CHECK OUT: Which Trojans could leave early for the NFL?

Offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and others will have to weigh similar options over the coming months.

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