Kates, a 6-foot, 190-pound cornerback, was coached by Berry, now UNC's Director of Player Personnel, at Clinton (Md.) Surrattsville High School.
"Coach Berry told me I should come check out the program," Kates said. "He said it's nice. He knows what I believe because he's been coaching me for quite a long time."
Kates, who holds scholarship offers from Buffalo, Florida, Maryland, and Miami, believes UNC will offer this weekend.
"He said it's a high chance [that UNC will offer], because he said Coach Davis loved my athleticism… If it doesn't come this weekend, I'm sure it's going to come way before the season starts."
If UNC does offer, Kates could respond with a commitment.
"I might have a surprise for you all if [an offer] comes," Kates said. "I like North Carolina a lot, probably because Coach Berry and also Coach ‘Mo' [Allen Mogridge]."
Mogridge recruited Kates "heavily," as Kates described it, for Buffalo when Mogridge was an assistant coach for the Bulls.
"He sent me an email and told me he was at North Carolina," Kates said. "I was like ‘Oh, Coach Berry is at North Carolina, too.'"
Kates has already visited Baylor, Florida, Maryland, and Ohio State. He's scheduled to return to Florida on April 16 for a four-day visit.
As a senior at Surrattsville and a member of the class of 2006, Kates was offered a scholarship by then UNC assistant coach Tommy Thigpen, among other schools. He mostly played quarterback during his prep career, but he also lined up at wide receiver, running back, and returner – but never cornerback.
Academic issues forced Kates to take the JuCo route coming out of high school. However, before ever playing a down, financial hardships at home forced him to give up football altogether.
In addition to working, Kates continued to work out, began coaching, and followed his best friend Joe Haden's Florida career.
After a two-year hiatus, Kates got the itch to return to football and eventually enrolled at Erie CC. Because of his athleticism and size, he was converted into a cornerback.
Despite his inexperience, Kates started at cornerback and ended the season with 49 tackles and three interceptions - earning first-team all-conference honors. Kates has been training with Leodis McKelvin of the Buffalo Bills.
"I'm just working on coming up and tackling because I just want to be the corner that people can say ‘He can cover and he can come up and bang.'
"I'm constantly learning more stuff about the position. I'm starting to learn some NFL stuff with Leodis."
Kates will graduate from Erie CC in May 2010 and will have two years of eligibility remaining, plus a red-shirt season.
Barry (pictured at right), a 6-foot-4, 190-pound quarterback, is hoping to get a better idea of UNC's situation and how he fits into it.
"Right now, they just want me to focus on my grades so I can be able to transfer by January. They said if I'm on track for [December] graduation, I'll be good – it could happen."
With the help of summer courses, Barry fully expects to graduate in December. He would then be able to enroll in the spring semester and have two years of eligibility, plus a red-shirt season, remaining.
Like Kates, Barry is being recruited by Mogridge but also speaks a lot to Berry.
As a senior at Cleveland (Ohio) Warrensville High School, Barry ran a West Virginia-style offense where he passed for 22 touchdowns and rushed for ten scores. He accumulated 2,500 all-purpose yards.
Barry drew the attention of all the MAC schools, as well as Michigan and West Virginia. But his academic situation forced him to take the JuCo route and thus ended up at Erie CC.
Barry began last season, his first at Erie, on the bench until the fourth game, when he was brought in against nationally ranked Nassau.
"Our team was getting blown out, so he decided to put me in. I led us on our only scoring drive," Barry said. "I started ever since then."
Barry ended the season with 1,106 yards, 11 touchdowns, and eight interceptions on 100-of-200 passing.