MINNEAPOLIS - A lot of eyes will be on University of Minnesota junior Rashod Bateman when the Gophers football team gets back on campus and the season starts.
He’s a projected first round pick in the NFL Draft, and he’ll have the attention of every opposing defense as the Gophers look to build off an 11-2 season in 2020, their best in 115 years. Bateman was recognized earlier this week as one of the top players in college football.
Bateman was named a Second Team Preseason All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.
The Georgia native has caught at least one pass in all 26 career games. He has 111 career catches, currently tied for 12th in school history, and his 1,923 career receiving yards through two seasons ranks seventh in program history. Bateman has 17 touchdowns through two seasons, which is currently tied for fifth in school history.
He has seven career 100-yard receiving games, and has the top two single-game receiving records at TCF Bank Stadium. Bateman had 203 yards and a touchdown in last year’s win over Penn State, and had 147 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Wisconsin.
Bateman set sophomore records last season with 1,219 receiving yards, which is the second-most in a single season, and his 11 touchdowns tied for third most in a single season. He set records as a freshman with 51 catches for 704 yards.
Bateman was named the Big Ten Receiver of the Year last season, and was a First Team All-Big Ten selection. He finished last year a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the top receiver in college football, and was named a Third Team All-American by the Associated Press.
In other words, enjoy Bateman while you can this season. It might be his last with the Gophers as he gets closer to a potential NFL career.