MINNEAPOLIS - After three standout seasons at the University of Minnesota, Rashod Bateman is now off to the National Football League.
Bateman became the first Gophers’ wide receiver since the NFL Draft started in 1936 to be picked in the first round Thursday night. He was taken by the Baltimore Ravens with the No. 27 overall pick. He's the first Gophers' first round pick since Laurence Maroney was taken 21st overall by the New England Patriots in 2006.
Bateman was with friends and family in his hometown of Tifton, Ga., when his NFL dream became a reality.
Bateman broke out in his senior year at Tift County High School with 83 catches for 1,539 yards and 21 touchdowns). He had verbally committed to P.J. Fleck and the Gophers, and kept that commitment despite SEC programs knocking on his door. Bateman started all 13 games for the Gophers as a freshman, making 51 catches for 704 yards and six touchdowns.
In 2019, he was named the Big Ten Receiver of the Year, First Team All-Big Ten and a third-team AP All-American after making 60 catches for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 20.3 yards per catch. Bateman opted out of the 2020 season after a battle with COVID-19, then opted back in after the Big Ten put health and safety protocols in place. He played five games and made 36 catches for 472 yards and two touchdowns before opting out of the remainder of the season due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the team. He was voted Third-Team All-Big Ten in 2020.
Bateman caught at least one pass in all 31 games he played for Minnesota. He finished with 10 career 100-yard games, and his 2,395 career yards rank sixth in school history. His 19 touchdowns are fifth in program history.
He got the attention of NFL scouts at the Gophers Pro Day, running a 4.39 40-yard dash. He’s the second straight Gophers wide receiver to be drafted, after Tyler Johnson was a sixth round pick by Tampa Bay last year.
It’s the first time Minnesota has had receivers taken in consecutive drafts since Ron Johnson and Eric Decker.