Junior tight end Pat Freiermuth will play for Penn State in the abridged 2020 season. The preseason all-American confirmed Wednesday that he will participate after the Big Ten Conference announced an October start for the shortened season. He tweeted to Penn State tight ends coach Tyler Bowen shortly after the conference's announcement, and then went on BTN with James Franklin to confirm his decision.
Freiermuth is a preseason AP all-American who has been mocked in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Initially, Freiermuth jumped out ahead of speculation by announcing his intent to play in early August. However, the conference's subsequent decision to postpone the season, followed by weeks of uncertainty on whether or not they would reverse course, changed the dynamic for many players. A report from the Centre Daily Times a week ago indicated that Freiermuth was leaning towards opting out of the 2020 season, following in the footsteps of all-American linebacker Micah Parsons.
Unlike Parsons, Freiermuth has not signed with an agent, so he has retained his NCAA eligibility for the season. And he indicated in his statements to the Big Ten Network this afternoon that he did not know where the reports came from.
In just two seasons at Penn State, Freiermuth has tied Mike Gesicki for the program's all-time lead in touchdowns by a tight end, with 15 of them. He has 69 career receptions for 875 yards. Freiermuth is considered a front runner for the John Mackey Award, given each season to college football's top tight end.