The reigning Big Ten Receiver of the Year has opted out of the 2020 college football season.
Minnesota junior Rashod Bateman, who caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019 to earn first-team all-conference honors, announced Tuesday morning that he will opt out of the 2020 college football season “in light of the uncertainty around health and safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic” and declare for the 2021 NFL draft.
Wishing well pic.twitter.com/fxV1FI7r7o— Rashod Bateman (@R_bateman2) August 4, 2020
Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck supported Bateman's decision in a tweet.
With Bateman back this season along with Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan, the Gophers were expected to have one of the Big Ten's best offenses and contend for a Big Ten West title. Without Bateman, however, the Gophers are now replacing the conference's top two wide receivers from last season, also including Tyler Johnson.
Bateman becomes the second Big Ten player to publicly announce he is opting out of the 2020 college football season, joining Illinois running back Ra'Von Bonner. He becomes the second potential first-round 2021 NFL draft pick to make that call, joining Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley.