Gopher Football team loses star receiver Rashod Bateman

Will focus on training for 2021 NFL Draft

Lindsey Peterson
August 04, 2020 - 8:38 am

Before the season gets rolling, the Gopher football team is already losing one of their top players. 

Big Ten Receiver of the year Rashod Bateman has informed the team that he is opting out of the 2020 season.  Bateman plans to focus on the 2021 NFL Draft.

Bateman, along with graduated receiver Tyler Johnson, gave the Gophers one of the top receiver combos in the country in 2019, leading the U to one of the best seasons for the football program since the early 1960's.  

Scouts are predicting Bateman to be a potential first round prospect in the NFL Draft. 

Bateman, a native of Tifton, Georgia, exploded in his sophomore season with the Gophers hauling in 60 catches for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Bateman was named a 1st Team All-Big Ten, was the Big Ten Receiver of the Year, and a 3rd Team All-America. 

Losing Bateman for the year certainly will hurt the Gophers' receiving corp, already down the record-setting Tyler Johson who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Star safety Antoine Winfield Jr. also declared early for the draft and was drafted by Tampa Bay like Johnson.  

Even playing football in 2020 is still under consideration.  The Big Ten has already cancelled all non-conference games for the season.  The league is expected to announce a revised conference-only schedule sometime on Tuesday while schools and athletic programs continue to battle with the virus.  

With solid recruiting, Fleck expects the program to be able to survive the departures that naturally come with success.  You recruit NFL-calibar players, there's a chance they leave early to start their pro careers.  It's part of the college football world, and something the Gophers are embracing on their road to winning at a high level again.  

RELATED: Following 11 wins including a bowl game, how does 2020 look for the Gophers?

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