Recruiting Update: TE/OL Michael Gates

Michael Gates, a tight end who played for Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, GA., has set up three official visits and has three schools at the top of his list. See who they are in the most up-to-date interview with Michael.

Currently, Gates has offers from nine schools with more possibly coming in the near future.

"I have offers from Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Ohio University, East Carolina, Troy State, Ball State, Hofstra and Middle Tennessee State," said Gates. "But just today the offensive line coach from South Carolina came in and I talked to another coach from Marshall as well. I just met them today and both took tapes back."

Although he played tight end in high school, Gates said moving to another position could be on the horizon when he moves to the college level.

"Most of them are (recruiting me for tight end) but what they are telling me is most likely when I get bigger - and they know I will get bigger - in a year or two in college they will move me inside, probably to tackle or guard."

Does a move to offensive line bother him?

"No, it really doesn't," said Gates. "I like all three of those positions."

Although some recruits are taking official visits in December and even a few have taken their officials during the season, Gates has set all his visits for the month of January.

"(The official) Kentucky (visit) is the 7th (of January). Mississippi State is the 14th (of January) and Ole Miss is the 21st (of January). Ohio (University) wanted me to come in but I was still playing football and we were still in the playoffs at the time."

As far favorites, Gates said, "It's those three," referring to the three schools that he has official visits with.

When asked to talk about what he likes about the three schools, he immediately mentioned Mississippi State, specifically MSU head coach Sylvester Croom.

"I've talked to Coach Croom on the phone and he came over for a home visit," said Gates. "He visited last Friday. I also talked to him yesterday (Monday) on the phone. He is incredible to talk to. I just like what he brings to the table as far as like a scholarship. And he kind of convinced my parents as well. He talked to them about academics and how they were with academics. I'm really concerned about getting a degree. That is my main goal. Everything else comes second. I also like how he is trying to turn everything around. I know they have been under probation. And from everybody that I have talked to, they always tell me that he has turned the program around. He is trying to get the bad seeds out and bring all the good guys in and build something strong."

He even knew about Coach Croom's NFL background. "I know he has coached in the NFL for about 17 years. So, I know he has experience."

Like just about any high school player you talk to that has aspirations to play on the college level, Gates also has higher aspirations, playing in the NFL. Because of that, does Coach Croom having coached in the NFL factor into his college choice?

"Yes, it does," Gates said. "I listen to him because he has coached (in the NFL) and knows what it takes to get there."

Although he knows a lot about Coach Croom, he doesn't know much about Mississippi State. But he has a valid reason.

"I didn't know too much about them because I moved down from New York last year," said Gates, who played defensive tackle and defensive end his sophomore and junior years in New York.

Like Mississippi State, he knows very little about the other two schools that he will officially visit, Kentucky and Ole Miss.

"I don't know much about (Kentucky), but they have sent me some stuff and I have read about their stadium," said Gates, who received a visit last Tuesday from Kentucky recruiting coordinator/wide receivers coach Joker Phillips. "I like playing in front of a lot of people. I like the attention. I hope to learn more about them when I go on my official visit. As far as Ole Miss, I don't know too much about them either. I'm not worried about it, but it's kind of shaky right now because they don't have a head coach. I'm still keeping them in my view and I'm still open."

One school that he has prominently mentioned in earlier interviews as a favorite of his was Georgia Tech, but they still haven't offered a scholarship/ So it now appears to be down to three, Mississippi State, Kentucky and Ole Miss. Which of those three will be the lucky one when signing day rolls around? Stayed tuned to for the answer.

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Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by email at

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