“I talked to my parents for a bit last night, and they said that I could go ahead and make the call,” he said. “Ever since I was little I had wanted to end up playing football at LSU, and I think my parents were pretty happy that I decided to go with my dream.”
After letting coach [Joe] Robinson know the good news, Bates put in a phone call to Miles.
“He was really happy,” Bates said. “He told me that he was proud of me for taking the offer, and that he could turn me into a great player. He said it was the right decision for my future, and that was great to hear.”
At 6-foot-2, 218-pounds, Bates has proven that he can do it all – starring as a defensive end at St. Paul’s in the fall before taking to a camp and combine circuit that saw him tested at linebacker, fullback and tight end.
“I just wanted to show the staff that I could be versatile,” he said. “When I got to camp, coach Robinson pulled me aside and said that they knew I had never played anywhere but defensive end, but they wanted to see me at a couple of spots.
“I think they liked what they saw, because the offer came right after.”
Where does the Tiger headman see Bates falling into his rotation?
“Coach Miles told me [Wednesday] that he would list me as an athlete, because he did not quite know where I would end up,” he said. “He said I would eventually be a rush-end, linebacker or fullback – wherever I looked best.
“That was fine, because all that matters to me is that I am part of the team.”
The ability to get after the ball is evident, logging 63 tackles and 14 sacks during his junior campaign last fall. Even Bates’ run-in with a current Tiger, freshman offensive lineman Chris Faulk, proved a task he was fit to conquer.
“I knew going into that game that everyone would be watching, so it could be my breaking point. Could I handle an LSU player?” said Bates, who gave Faulk fits throughout the contest. “Chris is really big, so if I could match him, who knows when I get older and bigger what I could do.”
How does Bates see his game carrying over to the next level?
“I know that I am a versatile guy, so wherever they put me I am going to try to excel,” he said. “I am a defensive guy, so I would prefer to stay there. Without knowing anything now, though, I am just going to improve on every level - getting faster and bigger.”
As for what’s on tap at St. Paul’s in the fall?
“I think I will stick to defensive end, because I had a recent talk with the coaches and they want to put me wherever is best for the team, and that is getting after the quarterback,” he said. “They did tell me I would be standing up some on the rush, so I think I will get some exposure.”