Pitt senior safety Damar Hamlin and defensive end Patrick Jones II have left the team to begin their preparations for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jones announced his departure on social media on Friday after playing in Pitt’s regular season finale at Georgia Tech on Thursday night. A source close to Hamlin, who did not travel with the team to Georgia, confirmed his departure and the reasoning behind it to Pittsburgh Sports Now.
“Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of playing in the NFL and God has blessed me with the opportunity to do that,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “So, after many hours of prayer and conversations with my parents and coaches, I’ve decided to forgo the bowl game and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft.”
Jones and Hamlin join redshirt senior defensive end Rashad Weaver, who also did not travel with the team to Atlanta while beginning his NFL Draft training, redshirt junior Paris Ford, who left the team after its mid-season bye week, and redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman, who opted out of the entire 2020 season, as early departures for the NFL.
Because of the NCAA’s blanket eligibility waiver for the 2020 season, even seniors who were expected to be out of eligibility have the option to return. Other Pitt seniors such as quarterback Kenny Pickett, center Jimmy Morrissey and cornerback Jason Pinnock have yet to announce their intentions when it comes to the bowl game and the 2021 season.