Minnesota WR Bateman to skip season, prepare for NFL draft

Rashod Bateman, a potential first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, will not return to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, he announced Tuesday.In a video posted to Twitter, Bateman said the decision to opt out of the season to prepare for the draft was one of the “hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life” and that he wished he could return to play for a Big Ten championship in 2020.”In light of the uncertainty around health and safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have to set my wishes aside for the wellness of my family, community and beyond,” he said. “Because of this, I have decided to opt out of the 2020 college football season and I will be taking the next steps in my journey by declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft.”He was a third-team Associated Press All-American selection and also was named the Big Ten’s top receiver in 2019.Bateman follows Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley in opting out of the college football season and he does so with the support of coach P.J. Fleck.