College football players sitting out bowl games in 2018

Michigan defensive lineman <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/271097/" data-ylk="slk:Rashan Gary">Rashan Gary</a> (3) will not play in the Peach Bowl against Florida. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary (3) will not play in the Peach Bowl against Florida. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Back in 2016, it was a huge controversy when LSU running back Leonard Fournette and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, after declaring for the NFL draft, decided to skip their team’s bowl game.

At the time, both players were considered likely first-round draft choices (they both went in the top 10), and did not want to jeopardize their health with a huge payday coming around the corner. However, the decision was viewed by many as quitting on their teams. In the years since, this practice has gotten more popular among draft prospects and public opinion has massively swayed. Though some still don’t agree with it, most completely understand what is at stake for these unpaid athletes.

This year, we will keep an updated list of the players who decide not to play in their team’s bowl game.

[Full 2018 college football bowl schedule, with dates, times and TV channels]

Monday, Dec. 3

Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina: Whenever he’s been healthy Samuel has been a big-play threat as a receiver and returner for South Carolina. He finishes his career with 148 catches for 2,076 yards and 29 total touchdowns, including four kickoff returns. Samuel won’t play in the Belk Bowl vs. Virginia.

Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State: Harmon led the ACC this season with 1,186 receiving yards and was tied for third with 81 catches. His 177 career receptions for 2,665 yards rank fourth and third in NC State history, respectively. He will sit out the Gator Bowl vs. Texas A&M.

N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State: In three seasons, Harry totaled 213 catches for 2,889 yards. Both marks rank third in Arizona State program history. He won’t play in the Las Vegas Bowl vs. Fresno State.

Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State: For his career, Hill rushed for 3,539 yards and 30 TDs on 632 attempts — all rank No. 7 in school history. Hill, who missed OSU’s last two games with injuries, will sit out the Liberty Bowl vs. Missouri.

Sunday, Dec. 2

Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan: In three seasons at Michigan, Gary combined for 119 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. Gary, the nation’s top recruit in 2016, missed three games earlier this season with a shoulder injury and now will sit out the Peach Bowl vs. Florida.

Greedy Williams, CB, LSU: After redshirting his first year, Williams emerged as one of the nation’s top cornerbacks in 2017 when he intercepted six passes for the Tigers. This year, Williams totaled 33 tackles and two interceptions. He won’t play in the Fiesta Bowl vs. UCF.

Friday, Nov. 30

Ed Oliver, DL, Houston: Oliver, who declared for the draft before his junior season, had 54 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss in eight games for Houston. He missed multiple games with a knee injury. For his career, Oliver totaled 192 tackles, 53 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. He won’t play in the Armed Forces Bowl vs. Army.

Noah Fant, TE, Iowa: In three seasons at Iowa, Fant caught 78 passes for 1,082 yards and 19 touchdowns. He could be the first tight end selected in the 2019 draft. Fant will skip the Outback Bowl vs. Mississippi State.

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