MINNEAPOLIS (BVM) — As NFL players have opted out of the upcoming football season, college athletes are following suit as well. The most recent and one of the more notable college football players to opt out is University of Minnesota rising junior wide receiver Rashod Bateman.
Wishing well❤️ pic.twitter.com/fxV1FI7r7o
— Rashod Bateman (@R_bateman2) August 4, 2020
In a video tweet posted on Aug. 4, Bateman announced he would be opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 to focus on preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft.
“I am now making the hardest decision that I have ever had to make in my life,” Bateman stated in the video.
Bateman cited the uncertainty of the season and the concern of the health and safety of his family as reasons for opting out. The wideout is coming off a breakout sophomore season as a Golden Gopher. His 60 receptions for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns led to him winning the Big Ten’s Richter–Howard Receiver of the Year. He was named to the All-Big Ten First Team and was an Associated Press Third-Team All-American.
Bateman leaves Minnesota holding records in freshman receiving yards (704), freshman receptions (51), sophomore receiving yards (1,219) and sophomore receiving touchdowns (11). Entering this season, Bateman was already projected as a first round draft pick.
In a statement tweeted from his personal account, Gophers head coach, PJ Fleck, said he supported Bateman’s decision to opt out of the season.
— P.J. Fleck (@Coach_Fleck) August 4, 2020
A Minnesota native, Bateman said he chose to go to the University of Minnesota because of coach Fleck. He will continue to support the team this season and in the future. He thanked them for the last two years.
“Minnesota you will forever be a place I am lucky enough to call home. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I love you all,” Bateman said in the video.
The Gophers will now start the season in East Lansing against Michigan State on Sept. 5 without one of their best receivers.