TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Tift County fans long knew they had a special talent in Rashod Bateman.
Minnesota fans had their eyes opened to Bateman’s prowess in 2018. Now, the sophomore wide receiver has caught the eyes of the nation. Bateman was added to the official watch list of the prestigious Biletnikoff Award on Wednesday.
Through Friday, Bateman had accounted for 537 receiving yards on 23 catches for an average of 23.3 yards per reception. He had a high of 177 yards on six receptions against Purdue on Sept. 28. Two of his four touchdowns for 2019 came in that game. He leads the Big Ten in average yards per game.
Last season, Bateman had 704 receiving yards and 51 catches, both freshman records at Minnesota.
Bateman is the second player on the Biletnikoff list from the area. Tamorrion Terry, a former player at Turner County High, was included on the initial list published earlier this year.
A redshirt sophomore at Florida State, Terry caught 35 passes for 744 yards and eight touchdowns in 2018. Through Friday, he had 384 receiving yards for 2019 on 21 receptions. Terry is averaging a team-high 76.8 receiving yards per game. He has scored four touchdowns.
The Biletnikoff Award is open to any active receiver in Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. To be added mid-season, like Bateman, the official Biletnikoff website said “Actual, not potential, performance is the basis for inclusion on the Biletnikoff Award Watch List.”
The winner of the Biletnikoff Award will be announced Dec. 12 on ESPN.
The first Biletnikoff Award was given out in 1994. The trophy is named for Fred Biletnikoff, a former receiver for Florida State and the Oakland Raiders. The award continues to be sponsored by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club.