Though just a sophomore, Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman is already one of the best deep threats in the B1G.

Bateman entered this season as the No. 2 WR for the Gophers behind senior Tyler Johnson, and he has lived up to the billing. In fact, Bateman currently leads Minnesota in receiving yards (945) and is second in catches (44) and receiving touchdowns (7).

Though Bateman has already put up strong numbers with the Gophers, offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca still believes the best is yet to come for Bateman. He sees a work ethic and the drive to be great in Bateman that simply made it a matter of time for him to break out.

Ryan Burns with Gopher Illustrated shared Ciarrocca’s comments from his Wednesday press conference:

“I’m so happy for him. He has all the God-given talent, but he works so hard. …

You just got a guy that has that work ethic, that drive and that commitment. You just knew it wasn’t one of those guys that IF he turns into a great player, it was just when because of his work ethic and talent.

But I think the exciting thing about him.I was talking with Matt (Simon) the other day about Rashod, and he’s still got a lot of room to grow. The best is yet to come. And you’re not going to have to worry about him resting on on his laurels. He always wants to know what he can do better. Where can I improve? And how can I be better? So that’s exciting.”

Hopefully, the Gophers can get back on track against Northwestern after the loss to Iowa. Bateman did put up six catches for 98 yards in the loss, his fifth game of 90+ yards this season.