P.J. Fleck issues statement on status of Gophers WR Rashod Bateman
Some potentially huge news broke on Friday morning, when Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported that Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman was interested in a return to the Gophers for the 2020 season. He had previously opted out on Aug. 4, declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Later on Friday, Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck confirmed that Bateman is working towards a waiver for eligibility for the 2020 season after hiring an agent. He is enrolled at the school and has been granted a waiver to practice.
“Rashod and I had many positive conversations since the Big Ten announced it was going to compete in football this fall,” Fleck said. “Rashod initially opted out because of personal health concerns surrounding COVID-19, but now feels comfortable rejoining the team after the Big Ten announced the safety measures it was taking to protect student-athletes, which includes daily antigen testing. Rashod is enrolled in school and has been granted a waiver to practice with the team, which he did so today.
“The process for him to be granted a waiver to compete this fall is a bit more complex, but our compliance office is working closely with the NCAA and Big Ten to come to a resolution. It is our hope that Rashod will be able to represent Minnesota as a student-athlete this fall.”
Many NFL Draft analysts consider Bateman to be one of the top receivers in the 2021 class. He’s projected as first-round selection, but could improve his stock even more with a big year in 2020.
Bateman was considered one of the top receivers in the conference, and the country, heading into the 2020 season. He finished his sophomore season in 2019 with 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns as the Gophers posted an 11-2 record, one of the best marks in program history.
If he’s granted a waiver, it would be a significant boost for the Golden Gopher offense.