Gates, a star lineman from Greenville, Ga., was preparing to sign with the Wildcats.
That is, until Mark Richt called with an offer from Georgia. Gates switched to the home-state favorite on the spot.
"Yeah my mom was ready (for Kentucky), but she's happy this is where I signed," Gates said.
Taken as the last recruit in the Bulldogs 2010 haul, Gates was considered a project that would likely need time to grow and develop before seeing playing time.
But with Georgia's offensive line struggling early, Gates was thrown into action. In his first ever game, Gates started at right guard against Tennessee.
He went on to play in six more games, making two other starts.
Not bad for the last addition of the class that was largely considered a work-in-progress.
How you ended up at Georgia had to be surprise, right?
Yeah, it was surprising when I got the phone call. I didn't hesitate. I took the opportunity when it was given to me. I didn't hesitate when it came. I wanted to be here, and I took it.
Was the offer completely out of the blue?
It really came out of the blue because it was at the very last minute. It was at the last minute, and I didn't expect for the call and the offer. It was two days before (signing day). It was that Monday before, and signing day was on Wednesday. I got the call Monday night.
The way you ended up at Georgia, what were you expecting last season?
I wasn't sure what I could do. I thought I would redshirt, but I didn't know. I just came to work every day.
Last season you played mostly right guard. Now you're listed as the starter at left guard. Is there a big difference?
It's not a big difference. It's not different at all.
Did you play guard or tackle in high school
No, in high school I just played tackle. It's a huge difference being outside than inside. The speed of the game, and you've got to have more power inside than outside. So, it's been a major chance, but I've adapted to the change. I'm pretty good there right now.
Since you have experience, do you feel like a veteran now?
I'm still trying to reach the level of becoming a leader. Like now, just working hard, following the other guys and following the leaders on the team…(I don't feel like a veteran), not right now.
But coming back with experience has to help you mentally?
That starting experience gave me a lot of confidence. This season, if I keep my head straight and keep working hard and working hard I'll keep my starting job.
How is Chris Burnette (redshirt sophomore) doing at your old right guard spot?
He's fitting in good. He's getting a lot of rotations and helping out everywhere to give everybody a little break. He's been good.
How do you think the offensive line progressed this spring?
We're learning the game and moving more faster. We're running through the ball and hitting. We love to hit. We're just building character, working hard and getting mean off the ball.