WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL): Tifton, GA (Tift County)
247 RATING: .8914
POSITION RANK: 4
Receiving: 111 catches, 1,923 yards (17.3 ypc), 17 touchdowns
Receiving: 60 catches, 1,219 yards (20.3 ypc), 11 touchdowns
Rashod Bateman Breakdown
Highly coveted recruits don’t leave states like Georgia for schools like Minnesota. Rashod Bateman made noise in his recruiting when he chose the Gophers over his hometown Georgia Bulldogs, but that was just the beginning. He inherits a leadership role after two season filled with potential and flashes of greatness, and the best of his career is yet to come.
What’s scary about Bateman’s game is that he can still get better, and that’s coming off of a season in which he averaged over 20 yards per catch. He’s the definition of a deep threat, and his speed makes it tough to cover him vertically. Even if his quarterback doesn’t throw the most accurate ball, he’s able to make adjustments while the ball is in flight to come down with the pass. In just two years, Bateman’s already taken tremendous strides in terms of his route running and release. Press coverage doesn’t affect him much. Quick feet help him turn the hips of his defender and create separation early in the route. It just comes down to if he gets a look he’s prepared to see.
At times, Bateman wasn’t sure how to adjust to a look he hadn’t seen before, and caused some hesitation in his game. He’s adding more film preparation to his game, and that only makes him a more dangerous player. With Tyler Johnson off to the NFL, Bateman becomes the man in the receivers room. Along with that responsibility, he’ll receive more attention from opposing defenses. His three career games over 170 yards receiving (including his four catch, 203-yard performance against Penn State) show how lethal he can be, and that’s just scratching the surface.
Minnesota’s passing game was the best it’s ever been thanks to Johnson, but Bateman’s arrival took it to another level. There aren’t many changes that need to be made to his game, and the ones he does make puts him back into All-American conversations if he can handle his new role and increased attention.