The state of California is a recruiting hotbed for many college programs and Michigan is always trying to get in on the action. Jim Harbaugh and staff have been very active recently extending tons of offers all over the state, the latest of those offers went to one of the best defensive backs on the West Coast in Buena Park (Calif.) highly touted cornerback Elijah Gates.
“I found out when I was weight lifting and my coach told me about the offer,” Gates told The Michigan Insider. “Right away I was very excited because Michigan is like a big school, have a great head coach like Jim Harbaugh and his program is up and coming. Knowing that and a great alumni network, which works like crazy, so that’s why I was very excited.”
While the offer from Michigan did generate much excitement from Gates, his knowledge of their program is very minimal, so he turned to a fellow California native in Wolverine defensive back signee David Long to learn a little more about the school.
“Really not that much, but I was talking to David Long, who is going to Michigan and is from California,” said Gates. “He just told me that the environment was great when he went up there and really the networking part is very important, which is why he chose Michigan. I actually played Pop Warner football with him, but that was pretty much it.”
Scout’s No. 76 overall rated prospect, however, is very familiar of Michigan’s headman Jim Harbaugh and his history of getting players to the next level, which is very appealing to him.
“He is a great coach and coached in the NFL,” said Gates. “I think the reason he is getting a lot of kids coming to the school is the networking like the networking part to the NFL. He coached in the NFL and knows what it takes for the young college athletes to get there and how they all work on a personal level.
“Yes, that is very intriguing (with Jim Harbaugh sending players to the NFL.) It would be great to learn a lot of stuff from him and pretty much let him groom me really to become a better person overall and hopefully play at the next level. That is a blessing.”
The lockdown 5-foot-11, 170-pound corner is interested in the Wolverines, but could see it rise with a visit to Ann Arbor, which he hopes to make.
“I have a medium interest just because if I go up there and take a visit right now and meet the coaches and the program, get a whole feel of the school then it could change,” said Gates. “Now that Michigan gave me a scholarship, I’ll try to make it out there. I’m going to try and visit because I know I’m going to take a visit to Notre Dame in mid-June, so I will try to also get to Michigan if I can. That is when I probably plan on visiting.”
Despite being thousands of miles away from Ann Arbor, Gates isn’t too concerned about distance at all.
“Not really (is distance an issue) because I plan on getting away for college anyway, so I really don’t know what the future holds, but it is really no factor and wherever I go, then I will make the best of it.”
Right now, Gates still isn’t ready to narrow down his list of suitors and has everyone on an equal playing ground.
“It is still wide open and I don’t really have leaders or anything,” said Gates. “I’m just wide open to all the schools that have offered me. I’m going to take my time and talk with my parents.”