Minnesota Star WR Rashod Bateman Opts Out of Season to Focus on NFL Draft

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Minnesota star wide receiver Rashod Bateman announced Wednesday that he is entering the 2021 NFL draft. 

He is expected to be one of the top wide receivers in the class. 

Bateman's declaration comes as Minnesota's upcoming game against Wisconsin was postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the Golden Gophers program. 

The wideout said in a statement that following the cancellation of this weekend's game, "It made the most sense to begin to focus on the next stage of my career."

Bateman's decision is not a surprise—the Minnesota receiver had opted out of the season on Aug. 4 when the Big Ten football season was still in jeopardy and signed with an agent. He later received clearance to play the fall season in late September following the league's decision to return.

The junior was last year's Big Ten Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the country's best wide receiver. He was also a first-team All–Big Ten selection and AP third-team All-America member. 

In five games this season, Bateman has 36 catches for 472 yards and two scores.

Minnesota is 2–3 on the season with games against Northwestern and Nebraska remaining.