Though Bates arrived in Happy Valley in the 275-pound range, he had built himself up to close to 300 pounds by the end of the season. But Franklin and company decided to keep him in the redshirt, realizing he was likely to emerge as a four-year starter beginning in 2016. And in the spring, Bates took his first giant step in that direction, claiming a starting guard job heading into the preseason.
Bates admits he was not sure if he could have held his own during the regular season last year. But now closing in on 310 pounds and as quick as ever, he has a much different take on things.
"i'm confident in my ability to kick some butt,” he said in an interview before PSU's Life for Life recently.
We were there when Bates held his first interview as a Nittany Lion. In the video above, you can see how the 19-year-old handled himself. One of his older teammates has some fun asking questions early on.