"I just got off the phone with Coach (Gene) Chizik and I committed to Auburn," Bates says. "It happened about 20 minutes ago. Coach Chizik called me and he was saying that he was happy that I was going to be down there this weekend and all that. Then I just told him I was ready to commit and become a Tiger. He was happy. He was thrilled that I was going to be a part of the team.
"Then Coach (Ted) Roof called about five minutes later," Bates adds. "I told him the same thing and he was happy. He said he was ready for me to come down. I just like how the coaches are and I feel like I'm needed down there."
Bates, who didn't get much attention until late in the recruiting process, got offers from both Auburn and Alabama on Monday, and Tennessee offered recently as well. He committed to Arkansas State on his official visit on Jan. 16, but that was before he started being recruited by several SEC schools.
Looking back, Bates says that he never thought this is how it would play out for him.
"Not at all," he jokes. "I thought I would be going to Arkansas State. That all changed. I'm just glad to be here.
"There have been some ups and downs," he adds. "At one point it was, ‘I'm going to be at Arkansas State, and I guess that will be all right even though it's not SEC.' At one point things seemed down and then it picked back up. It's been up and down."
Daren Bates will visit Auburn this weekend.
Bates has been recruited to Auburn by Trooper Taylor, who also recruited him when he was at Oklahoma State. Bates, 5-11, 195, could play running back or defensive back at Auburn. He is making an official visit to Auburn this weekend.
"I'm going on it and Coach Roof says it's going to be a ‘congratulations visit,' a ‘have fun visit' before I come down for football," Bates jokes.
Bates' teammate from Olive Branch High School, Aubrey Phillips, is also taking an official visit to Auburn thisweek. "I talked to him right after Coach called and he said he's going to see his visit goes and then he'll make his decision."
Olive Branch head coach Scott Samsel says that Bates' recruitment has picked up just recently, but that he's a solid prospect. "I would say it pretty much started mid-season. It was just really about getting his name out. He was totally under the radar.
"I'm telling you he's a great player," Samsel adds. "I've been fortunate to have some great players in the past and he's certainly in the same mold as those guys. Daren is an outstanding person, not just a good football player."