Bloomington – The door is closing for anyone hoping to lure Andre Kates away from the Hoosier football program.
The highly-coveted 6'0", 193-pound cornerback from ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y., was in Bloomington for his official visit this weekend and left town all but ready to turn a soft verbal commitment into a firm one for IU Coach Bill Lynch's program.
"I was probably 65-75 percent committed before I came to town, and now I'm about 95 percent committed," Kates said Sunday night. "I really liked it a lot."
One of the things Kates enjoyed was having one of the myths about IU football dispelled during his weekend stay. Indiana's reputation as a basketball school has sometimes worked to the football program's disadvantage on the recruiting front, but Kates said he didn't see IU football taking a backseat to anyone this weekend.
"There was some stuff in my mind about IU being a big-time basketball school, but that changed around a lot for me," Kates said. "I got there and you could see the university president, the athletic director, all the coaches are behind the football program, and I really liked that."
Kates also enjoyed the chance to watch the Hoosiers pull out a 23-19 win over Western Michigan in front of 35,000-plus at Memorial Stadium, and he was also pleasantly surprised to find out that he was hardly another anonymous person patrolling the sidelines during the game.
"I was on the sidelines and there were fans from the student section calling my name – that was crazy," Kates said. "As soon as I walked into the stadium a guy knew who I was and I was like, ‘wow.' They were saying, "Kates, we need you here.' I felt like I was at home."
The big-time junior college cover man also liked what he heard from the IU players. Jerimy Finch, Donnell Jones, Jarrell Drane and Darius Johnson were all players that he spent time with, and all had positive things to say about their experiences with the program.
"The first thing I asked the players about was the downfalls. When you talk to the coaches, you'll always hear how it's a perfect place to be, how you'll play early, all that stuff. But I wanted to know what the downfalls were," Kates said.
"They said there really aren't any. Just come in, work hard, and you'll get a chance to contribute. It's a fun place to play."
Kates also got a chance to see an Indiana team that maybe has a little more confidence than some might have expected. During his visit he watched the USC-Ohio State game with members of the team, and what he heard was a group of players that was talking about going on the road and winning the next two weeks at Akron and Michigan, and then having a chance to come home and play Ohio State still undefeated.
"That sounded good for me to hear how much confidence they have," Kates said.
The Indiana coaches also delivered a message that Kates liked as well. He said that Lynch and Defensive Coordinator Joe Palcic didn't spend all of their talking about how he'd step in and start right away – instead they talked about the school, the academics, and the confidence they have in the direction the program is headed.
"They let me know that they'd love to have me, and I know that IU football will go on with me or without me," Kates said. "I liked hearing the confidence they have in the program and the players they have in there."
Kates, in turn, has a lot of confidence in the impact he can make for the program if things continue down the current path and he does wind up in an IU uniform net fall.
"When I come in, I think I can make big time plays for them," Kates said. "I told coach Palcic, ‘I'm going to come in and try to be the best player you've coached.'"
Kates Ready to Close the Door?
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