Gopher WR Bateman opts out of remainder of season

Gopher football’s star receiver Rashod Bateman is opting out of the remainder of the season.

Bateman initially opted out of the season when it appeared the COVID-19 pandemic would push the Big Ten season out of the fall. The NCAA approved his appeal to return after the conference voted to play in the fall.

After playing five games, on the heels of the cancellation of this weekend’s game between the Gophers and Wisconsin, Bateman is departing again to focus on preparation for the NFL Draft.

Bateman announced his decision on Twitter, attaching a message to a post that read "Thank you Minnesota".

"After further dialogue with Coach Fleck and my family, we decided after this most recent Covid-19 outbreak and the cancellation of this weekend’s game, that it made the most sense to begin to focus on the next stage of my career," he said in a statement contained in the tweet.

In two-and-a-half seasons, Bateman’s 147 receptions and 2,395 receiving yards both rank 6th in Gopher football history. His 19 touchdowns rank 5th.

Bateman raced up NFL draft board projections with a breakout sophmore season in 2019 that saw him make 60 catches for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was All-Big Ten First Team and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award – given to the best receiver in college football. He was a Third Team AP All American and was named the Gophers team Most Valuable Player.

He holds records for most receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a Gopher sophomore, and records for receptions and receiving yards by a Gopher freshman.

Bateman caught at least one pass in all 31 games he played in.

He is projected by most draft anaylsts to be a first or second round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.