"They have a good defense. I'm trying to get back there for a visit," said Bates, who holds a ULM offer. "To me it's close enough. It's still at home. My parents could still see me. They've got a couple of games on TV that my grandma could watch. It's a good place. A good school."
The 6-0, 210-pounder seems genuinely interested in ULM, inquiring about other linebackers the Warhawks are recruiting during his interview with Warhawk Nation. South Alabama and Louisiana Tech also have offered scholarships, Bates said.
Bates enjoyed a solid junior season at St. John, which finished 12-2 after losing to Haynesville in the semifinals. The all-district 8-1A performer said he had "around 70 to 80 tackles." He also saw snaps at running back.
"I had a lot of takeaways," he said. "I can't remember how many, but it was around four picks and five pass breakups. Every time I played running back, I had a big game, but I wasn't the starter. We had two seniors and they needed me to play defense."
Bates is undecided on a college major and working to raise his GPA in summer school.
"I'm trying to find the best place for me," he said "That's what is taking so long to make a decision."
Bates attended camps at Memphis, Louisiana Tech and LSU this summer.
"I'm looking for a school where I can be happy for four years," Bates said. "School-wise and football-wise."