Patrick "PT" Gates is planning to move to Boulder January 8. The dynamic running back spent the fall off the football field, finishing his degree requirements at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, Calif. Gates told BSN Tuesday he takes his final exams next week, then plans to move to Boulder in January and participate in spring ball.
Gates excelled at Saddleback in 2006, when he was a backfield teammate with current Buff quarterback Nick Nelson.
"P.T. is the best running back I've ever had," said Saddleback head coach Mark McElroy. "He could've played any (skill) position on offense or defense. That's how athletic is he is."
Gates originally committed to CU as part of last year's class. But he needed to finish 30 credit hours at Saddleback in 2007 before being able to academically transfer to Colorado. He spent the fall semester working through the last of those credit hours.
This past fall was not the first time he missed a season of football. Gates originally signed with San Diego State out of Marion High School, but sat the 2004 season because of academics. He played two seasons, 2005 and 2006, at Saddleback.
"It just made me a stronger minded person," Gates said of the experience of missing football. " know what I need to do. I know what goals I need to set for myself and for my team and how to become a better team player."
Since Gates verbally committed to Colorado last fall, other programs' interest in him diminished, he said, partly because he made his intentions known about where he eventually wants to play.
"I'm a Buff," Gates said. "I don't like to switch my options or switch my plans. "
Gates played the 2006 season at 5-11, 195 pounds. He should compete right away for a starting position at tailback, as Colorado graduates two seniors, Hugh Charles and Byron Ellis, from the position.
"I'm excited," Gates said about joining the Buffaloes. "But I'll be more excited when I get on the field."