MINNEAPOLIS – PJ Fleck is all about recruiting the best talent and finding the right person to bring the best players and people to the University of Minnesota football program.
There’s no better way to sell this than to select players who thrived under Fleck in the NFL Draft. The Gophers made history over the weekend, with Rashod Bateman and Benjamin St.-Just being drafted. Bateman was selected No. 27 overall by the Baltimore Ravens. The Gophers hadn’t had a first-round pick since Laurence Maroney in 2006, and they never had a first-round catcher.
St.-Juste was won in the third round, No. 75 overall, by the Washington football team. For the first time since 1978, two Gophers were selected from the top 75 picks. History made.
“We only had two guys eligible to be drafted, and both guys, it just shows you can accomplish anything you want here at the University of Minnesota. It was a big day for us, it was It really is. Those are the reasons you coach. These things go on forever, “said Fleck after Saturday’s Gophers spring game.
We’re starting to see Minnesota’s top talent heading into the NFL. Last year it was Antoine Winfield Jr. and Tyler Johnson both selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They are now both Super Bowl champions.
Bateman, the 2019 Big Ten Receiver of the Year, was with friends and family in Tifton, Ga. When his name was called out on Thursday night. Mo Ibrahim almost called him, but the Baltimore native chose not to confuse and excited his former teammate to see a Baltimore-area number.
“I grew up as a Ravens fan so I was cheering him on. When he was chosen, I was excited. I waited 5, 10 minutes and called him. He was excited, he asked me where he should go to eat and stuff like that, ”Ibrahim said.
Chris Autman-Bell was propelled into the No. 1 wide receiver role with the Gophers last season after Bateman retired from the last two games. Bateman is one of his closest friends, and Autman-Bell posted a video of himself on Instagram running down the hallway of his home when Bateman was drafted.
“I sprinted down the hallway to my room. I was screaming, Ben came the next day. I was also screaming for Ben too. See my guys, especially Bateman, and know he came after me and left before me. , it’s just His time has come, it was great to see my brother get drafted, as soon as they pick that number I’ll be buying jerseys for sure.
Bateman posted a photo to social media on Monday afternoon, sporting a Ravens jersey with the No.12 on his chest and No.13 on the shoulders.