Rashod Bateman has been selected to the Associated Press Preseason All-America – Second Team. This news comes about three weeks after the Minnesota Gophers’ star receiver decided to opt-out of the 2020 football season. Two weeks later, the Big Ten would cancel their fall football season altogether.
Season or no season, it was easy to see Bateman as a top college receiver, following his monstrous 2019 campaign. As a Sophomore, Bateman pulled in 60 receptions for over 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns. After the AP released their preseason top-25 yesterday, with Big Ten and Pac-12 teams included, it’s no big surprise to see Bateman get honored in their All-American selections.
1st-Team Wide Receivers
Ja’Marr Chase for LSU and DeVonta Smith for Alabama are the only receivers to be deemed above Bateman. Both receivers, who made the first-team, had outstanding 2019’s as well. Alabama and LSU play in the SEC, which is still planning a 2020 Fall season.
As a Sophomore at LSU, Chase led the entire FBS in receiving yards and touchdowns. Smith racked up 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns, during his Junior season at Alabama. It’s tough to fight those numbers.
Bateman isn’t alone as the only player on the list, who won’t be playing this fall. 23 players on the AP Preseason All-America list won’t be playing football this fall.
Alongside Tanner Morgan, Mohamed Ibrahim and a new defense, Bateman was supposed to be a major piece to Minnesota’s Rose Bowl dreams in 2020. Other bowl games (and the BCS Playoff) might need to be adjusted or cancelled, with different football seasons across the NCAA. Flexing the Rose Bowl to a later date could be easier since both representatives are chosen from the PAC-12 and Big Ten.
Minnesota will need some new faces to step up at receiver, if the 2020-21 offense is to be successful. The next time the Gophers step onto a competitive gridiron, they’ll be without both of the record-setting WR’s from 2019.
Bateman won’t be able to showcase himself as an undisputed number one target, in Minnesota, but that won’t stop his urge to become the best player he can be. He’ll be ready, come draft day, to hear his name called in that first round.
Where do you think he will get picked? Is he the best receiver in his class? Now, it’s all “what could’ve been” as we’ll have to wait for 2021 (and a full season off our TV screens), to see where Rashod Bateman’s career goes next.
AJ Condon | Minnesota Sports Fan