Comeback Trail

Ole Miss commitment DeMarquis Gates missed his entire senior season due to a torn ACL and subsequent surgery/rehab, but his coach, Edgar Carson, says Gates is fit and ready to roll when he gets to Ole Miss.

"I think it would have been a different story if we had had Gates," said Lovejoy (GA) HS Coach Edgar Carson, recalling his team's 2013 10-2 record and ouster from the 6A playoffs in the second round. "I really believe with DeMarquis in the lineup, we would have gone further. He had that kind of impact on our team."

Carson, in his third year at Lovejoy, has proof to back up his bold statement.

Gates, a 6-3, 210-pound linebacker, was a three-year starter at Lovejoy, starting as a ninth grader in Georgia's highest classification of football.

As a sophomore, Gates was a big part of a 14-1 team that got to the state finals. As a junior, Gates led his team to another state final appearance.

"Gates is an excellent athlete. He runs a 4.6 40, he benched 320 last week and he can dunk a basketball any way you want it dunked," noted Carson. "We even played him some at safety last year because he's that kind of athlete."

DeMarquis Gates
File Photo

Carson envisions Gates as an outside linebacker on the major college level, but that's going to depend on his growth.

"The kid is a leader in the weight room. Right now, he comes to our offseason workouts every morning at 6:30 and is setting a great example to our younger kids. He doesn't have to be here, but that's just who he is - he always wants to get better," Carson said. "With his frame, he could blow up to 240 pounds and be a middle guy. He could get up to 255 and be a defensive end. He could stay around 220-225 and be an outside linebacker. There's now way to know that, but what you do know is the raw material and attitude is there for him to be a lot of things successfully."

Academically, Gates holds a 3.0 GPA and is fully qualified, something not lost on Carson.

"He takes his education seriously. It's important to him, which, to me, is a mark of his maturity," he noted. "He also has a great personality and good character and he comes from a fine family that taught the right way to do things.

"It was really tough on him to have to sit out with the injury, but he handled it like a man. He was at all workouts and practices and games supporting his teammates. He never got down around them and that's maturity."

Carson used that intelligence and maturity to his advantage on the field.

"He's like another coach on the field. He'd get everyone lined up the right way and would run the defense the way we wanted it run," Carson said.

From Carson's perspective, the future is bright for DeMarquis Gates.

"All he needs to do is get bigger and stronger," Carson closed. "Here's a kid with character, a great frame, speed, a fantastic work ethic and he's coachable.

"I don't know what else you'd want."

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