Stanford offensive lineman Walker Little, a potential first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, will opt out of the upcoming season to prepare for the draft. Little's decision to opt out comes just three days after the league's other star offensive lineman, Oregon's Penei Sewell, announced he will do the same.
Little was the Cardinal's projected starter at left tackle after he missed all but one game as a junior last season with a knee injury. He was named to the Outland Trophy watch list and considered a preseason All-American by several publications.
"The past three years at Stanford have prepared me for this moment and I am ready and eager for what the future holds," Little wrote in a letter published Thursday. "I will always cherish the memories I have made with my teammates both on and off the field. The men in the locker room are what has made Stanford Football special for me."
Little entered the program as a five-star prospect from the class of 2017 and became the first true freshman to start at left tackle since 2000. He was named the Pac-12 Freshman Offensive co-Player of the Year in 2017 and made the All-Pac-12 first-team in 2018 before injuring his knee in last year's season opener against Northwestern.
It remains unclear when the Pac-12 might begin its football season. The league announced last week that it plans to implement daily COVID-19 testing by using testing machines that are expected to be delivered to campuses by the end of September. That could accelerate the league's timeline for beginning the season after it initially announced that there would be no competition until 2021.