Bates Reacts to U-M Offer with Planned Visits

Junior defensive end Jalen Bates is planning a Michigan visit after receiving a Wolverine offer in April. He has a long-standing connection to the Michigan program and is eyeing a summer trip to A2. Find out where Bates stands at regarding his recruitment.

With recent offers from TCU, Ole Miss and Michigan, Kaplan (La.) 2015 defensive end Jalen Bates' offer sheet has grown to seven schools. And recruiting is merely beginning to take off. For him

"Last season was successful," Bates told GoBlueWolverine. "But I did not think [recruiting] would blow up like this. I thought I had a decent season, but I want to come back and be ten times better than I was last year."

Out of all the schools pursuing Bates, who checks in at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, one is showing the most interest with several others close behind. The close proximity to Kaplan High School is a factor that Lafayette University is using to their advantage so far in Bates' recruitment.

"Lafeyette has been the most because they are like 30 minutes away," said Bates. "They have been recruiting me like crazy. Michigan has been contacting me a lot, along with Oregon State and Texas Tech."

Bates' recruitment is quickly gaining traction as Alabama, Iowa State and Mississippi State have all stopped by Kaplan to check in on Bates in the past week.

As far as Michigan goes, it was in mid-April, just as the evaluation period kicked off, that Bates began his relationship with the Wolverines. The Wolverines stepped forward with an offer for the tenacious pass rusher on April 15, a move that was well received.

"My recruiter for my area called me and offered me," said Bates. "Freddy Jackson, he was pretty cool. He was down to Earth and a pretty cool coach. That was the first contact I had had with them. I hadn't heard anything before. He told my coach to call him, then I did and they offered me right there."

Bates, who states that distance from home will not influence his collegiate decision, has a long-standing connection to the Wolverines program that could prove instrumental.

"I grew up watching Michigan because my cousin, Jonas Mouton, went to Michigan—and now he is in the NFL," said Bates. "It would be cool to follow in his footsteps. Seeing Michigan showing interest in me is like a dream come true."

With the playing football at Michigan a viable option for Bates, scheduling a visit will be the next step in advancing his relationship with the Wolverines. He said a visit during the summer is likely.

"I want to get up there [to Michigan] to visit as soon as I get the chance to," Bates said. "I really want to get up there and take a look at my options. They said this summer and around that area, and my cousin said he might take me up there around the summer too."

LSU showing also interest in Bates, at tight in addition to defensive end, and the rising junior is willing to play a collection of positions at the next level. Several schools have even identified Bates as an outside linebacker.

"I play on both sides of the ball," said Bates. "I am more of physical player than a finesse player and I am pretty disruptive—spinning and ripping and stuff like that. I don't have a lot of technique, but I'm strong and I make a big mess in the backfield. I will dominate the man in front of me and I play aggressive."

Whether this translates to a future at outside linebacker, defensive end or tight end is yet to be determined, and Bates is open-minded regarding the topic.

"It doesn't really matter," said Bates. "It depends on the scheme. But defensive end would be pretty fun since it's mostly pass rushing and hitting. My body style is probably made more for outside linebacker, but at defensive end I will put my hand on the ground; plus I play tight end a bit. I play anywhere. Like I said, I just love football."

As the focal point of Kaplan pass rush, Bates sees this upcoming season as a rebuilding effort due to the amount of graduating talent. After a 9-4 campaign in 2013, Bates is approaching his senior year with a driven mindset.

"We are pretty small," said Bates. "We have about 40 players on our team with about 10 being seniors. This is a humble team. Last year we made it to the quarterfinals, but (this year) I think we could take it all the way to the Superdome."

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