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Bates, 6-foot-3 and 218-pounds, is the son of former Vol Bill Bates. So you can say that he bleeds a little Tennessee orange.
"Yea, there's a little history there with me and my family with my dad playing there," Bates said. "But it's a place where I feel very comfortable. It's a family. The coaching staff is great and they are putting together a great recruiting class."
Of course you can't sleep on the home-state Gators and the national champion Crimson Tide.
"All of my friends are hoping I pick the Gators," Bates said. "They are a great SEC school who competes for championships. They are really going to be great. Then you have Alabama. They are the No. 1 team in the country. That would be a great opportunity for me, to play for the best in the country."
Bates, who plays weak-side linebacker for his high school team, loves the opportunity he's getting here at Beaverton, Ore. at the Opening.
"To play in something like this, with 160 of your peers is awesome. The competition is great," Bates said. "It's everything and more. Every time I go to events I try and bring something back home with me. Everything counts. And it's how you get better. I have already earned a lot here in one day."