By Cameron Hogwood
Last Updated: 04/08/20 4:20pm
Rashod Bateman has revealed he is opting out of the 2020 college season amid concerns of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minnesota wide receiver and Gophers star took to social media to clarify his decision to forgo his remaining two years of eligibility in order to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
“In light of the uncertainty around health and safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have to set my wishes aside for the wellness of my family, community and beyond,” he said.
“Because of this, I have decided to opt out of the 2020 college football season and I will be taking the next steps in my journey by declaring for the 2021 NFL draft.”
Bateman recorded 111 catches for 1,923 yards and 17 touchdowns over the past two seasons and was a third team All-American and first team All-Big Ten selection in 2019.
He follows in the footsteps of Virginia Tech cornerback and projected first-round pick Caleb Farley, who was the first high-profile player to opt out last week.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck responded with a statement defending Bateman, who had seven catches for 203 yards and a touchdown in a win over Penn State last season.
“Rashad played a pivotal role in helping mold the University of Minnesota into an elite Big Ten program,” he said. “He was a joy to coach and has developed into an NFL calibre of player. We could not be more proud of Rashod’s historic and All-American career at Minnesota.
“My job as a college football coach is to teach, educate and help our players live out their dreams. We will certainly miss him. Our program will always support a teammate who makes a decision that he feels is best for him and his family.”