Bateman Pledges to AState

It took one visit to Jonesboro for Memphis Ridgeway defensive tackle Elontae Bateman and he was hooked. Everything he was looking for was close to home.

"I really liked it a lot," he said. "The town is nice. In ways it was a lot like Memphis but just not as big. I liked to school, the stadium and all the coaches. It was like family there. I really liked the D-Line coach (Brian Early) and the DC (defensive coordinator Joe Cauthen) was cool too.

"I know they win a lot. Three straight conference titles and they had all those coaching changes. That is all right because the coaches leave for bigger jobs. They know how to pick the right coaches. I'm not worried about that.

"I can see it being a place where I would like to be the next 4 years."

Bateman said that right after he committed that Memphis and Middle Tennessee both contacted him and he told them that his mind was made.

The 6-foot-2, 270-pounder defensive tackle (3 technique) really liked to location of Jonesboro in relation to Memphis.

"Man once you cross the (Mississippi River) bridge it is like 40 minutes," he said. "I really like that. It is important to me that all my family gets to see me play. They have been ever game I have played since the seventh grade.

"I imagine by the time I have my first game I will have about 25 family members there.

"I still am going to make another unofficial visit so I can bring my family up here. And I plan on coming up for some games this season."

He is the sixth commitment for Arkansas State, and the second from Ridgeway, joining running back Earl Harrison. He is the second defensive linemen to commit with in week. Kilgore (Texas) College's Ray Rudolph

"Yeah, Earl has been pushing on me to go ahead and commit. I had been thinking about it all week and when I made the trip today I was thinking I might go ahead and commit."

The Red Wolves hosted a 1-day football camp but Bateman did not participate.

"I talked with the coaches,'' he said. "They are going to get me the information so I can come up and participate in one."

For now, Bateman is focused on a big season for the Ridgeway Roadrunners.

"In high school I will play all over the defensive line, inside to outside. But I prefer the 3-technique. I don't mind taking on the double team.

"I was disappointed last year because I did not make first team all-district or all-state," he said. "That is my motivation. I plan on making all-American."