Some athletes are looking at longevity in sports not by how fast they heal, but how often they get hurt. Jaydon Blue is embracing this approach at a very early age, choosing to forego his final year of high school football at Klein Cain High School to prepare for his next step: running back for the Texas Longhorns.
Blue announced his decision on Twitter:
“After countless hours of evaluation, I have made the decision to forego my senior season of high school football … This has been a very difficult decision for my family and I.”
Jaydon also provided some insight behind the decision:
“Football is a brutal sport, and the wear and tear associated with the RB position is undeniable,” added Blue. “I plan to take this time to focus on my academics while enhancing my off the field training/rehab regimen. This is a strategic and conscious effort to ensure that I am prepared to perform at an elite level at the collegiate rankings during the 2022 season.”
While Blue’s outlook toward preparing for college football sounds reasonable, the opt-out trend in sports may soon be an issue for teams and college programs and may encourage many others to miss out on developmental years.
In terms of effect on evaluation, the stigma of taking time off the field no longer appears to be an issue for recruiting. Blue will still be able to join the Longhorns in the upcoming season.
A number of college football players that opted out of the remaining season last year to prepare for the NFL Draft went early in the first round. Anyone who heard analysis of JaMarr Chase, Micah Parson, or Rashawn Slater may have caught a mention of their opt-outs, but the analysis remained focused on their production in seasons past.
Whether through scheduled time off, cryo chambers, trendy diets, or Alex Guerrero’s mysticism, today’s athletes are focused on reaching long, sustained careers.
Availability is especially important for a running back’s career and pay. Jaydon Blue and other running backs from the next generation of football now have the opportunity to prove that preparedness and health can translate to longevity.
In his final season at Klein Cain High School, Blue ran for 2,155 yards and 30 touchdowns.