Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman Opts Out of Season; Will Prepare for 2021 NFL Draft

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2020

Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman (13) run in for a touchdown after a catch against Purdue during the second half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. Minnesota defeated Purdue 38-31. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

University of Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman announced Tuesday he's opting out of the 2020 college football season because of the "uncertainty around health and safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Rashod Bateman @R_bateman2

Wishing well❤️ https://t.co/fxV1FI7r7o

Bateman, a 2019 First Team All-Big Ten selection for the Golden Gophers, also declared for the 2021 NFL draft.

The Georgia native recorded 60 receptions for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns for Minnesota last season. It came on the heels of an instant-impact freshman campaign that saw him register 51 catches for 704 yards and six scores.

His 17 receiving TDs over the past two seasons tied for 22nd in the country, per Sports Reference.

Bateman, a 4-star prospect in the 2018 recruiting class, told Chad Graff of The Athletic in November it wasn't until Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck showed interest that other major offers rolled in.

"It kind of felt disrespectful," he said. "Minnesota offered me and then people saw that and were like, 'OK, now we can offer him.' So I was just real with who was real with me first."

Now Bateman's focus shifts to the NFL.

In May, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked him as the No. 17 overall prospect on his early big board for next year's draft.

"At 6'2" and 210 pounds, the true junior has the production to intrigue NFL scouts and the athleticism to propel him into the first round of the draft," Miller wrote. "Scouts who worked on the Gophers' 2020 draft class are already buzzing about Bateman's ability to set up and beat cornerbacks with agile moves and fluid routes."

Meanwhile, the Big Ten announced in July it will utilize a conference-only schedule if fall sports are given the green light to play amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Gophers' first game is scheduled for Sept. 18 when they're slated to host the Iowa Hawkeyes.