The positive news continues to roll in for Gophers football. All-American WR, Rashod Bateman has received a waiver from the NCAA granting the potential first-round pick’s eligibility for the upcoming 2020 season.
On Sept. 16 the Big Ten conference announced its plans to return to playing football this fall. A question quickly arose among Gophers’ fans, as many wondered if Bateman would be eligible to play after announcing his plans to opt-out of the 2020 season and prepare for the NFL Draft earlier in the month. Two days after the Big Ten’s decision to return, Bateman announced his plans to do all he could to play in 2020, nearly two weeks later the Big Ten granted the junior receiver’s wish and has ruled him officially eligible to suit up for the Maroon and Gold this season.
I would imagine Tanner Morgan is ecstatic for what this means regarding the Gophers’ passing game in 2020. With the program’s all-time leading receiver, Tyler Johnson moving onto the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Gophers will be looking to replace his 1,300+ yards and 13 touchdowns from last season. Bateman was Morgan’s clear number two option last season, recording 60 catches for 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns, so it is a foregone conclusion that the will fill Johnson’s number one role from last season.
Junior receiver, Chris Autman-Bell will now likely move into Bateman’s role from last season, as he was third on the team in catches yards and touchdowns in 2019 (28, 371, and 5). Rashod’s return will prove to be vital in the Gophers’ hopes of remaining a top-level passing offense in 2020.
Bateman also stated that he will be switching his jersey number from No. 13 to No. 0, “Which represents that there is zero-tolerance for racism on out culture, and is a call to end racism in our society.”