“Actually Thursday (January 30th) or Friday (January 31st) Coach Ferrigno came to school,” Bates recalled. “Then Saturday (February 1st) my head coach for our high school football team texted me around 12:00 saying to call Coach Funk, the offensive line coach I called him. I don’t know how long the conversation was, but he said that he liked my film and they were going to offer me.”
“It did catch me by surprise. I didn’t have a lot of contact with Michigan before they came to school.”
That prior lack of contact has done nothing to mute his interest in the Maize & Blue. He has long admired the program from afar.
“I know it is a good school with a good football team,” said Bates. “I know they put a lot of O-line prospects like Taylor Lewan All American there. I like them.”
Michigan isn’t the school to enjoy that kind of favorable view, but only a select few enjoy that distiction.
“Definitely Penn State and South Carolina,” Bates said listing his favorites. Definitely them two. I liked (Penn State) before and after (the coaching change). I like Coach Franklin a lot. It was either a week or two after he got the coaching job he came down to visit me and my fellow teammate, Drew Cooper, who is a middle linebacker. I actually just got off the phone with him around. I talked to him and Coach Hand, the offensive line coach at Penn State.
”Now I have two new offers added to the list, Michigan and Michigan State. Those are two I definitely have to look at.”
Those and other visits will take place in the not too distant future, and with good reason. Bates doesn’t plan to draw out the recruiting process.
“I was hoping to do it sometime this spring,” he said. “I know I have one visit planned so far and that is Penn State, the junior day on February 15.”
“I am hoping to make my decision sometime late spring or early summer.”
When the time comes to make that choice there are a few key factors that will determine the victor.
“The most important thing I look at is something my coaches keep telling me and my family keeps telling me that I like a school for a school itself,” the Keystone State star stated. “God forbid if I get hurt and God forbid my career goes out the window and I can’t play anymore, I have to like the school itself for the people around me… the atmosphere, fan base, coaching staff… all of it. That is a big question I ask myself.
“Another thing is I prefer to play guard, right or left guard. Distance is a big factor too. Definitely. Michigan is not too far away. But I don’t want to go too far.”