While Syracuse is looking to close out their 2013 class, they have not lost sight of the more distant future. Recently, Scott Shafer visited Fresno City College linebacker Tyler Bates to express interest in the 2014 prospect. Bates describes himself as a well rounded, athletic linebacker.
"I'm an outside linebacker," Bates said. "I'm 6-foot-1, about 225 pounds. I run a 4.6 40. I used to play safety in high school so I can cover pretty well. I'm really good at down hill support. Coming from my background as a safety, you have to fill the hole. So my run support is pretty good. I like to say that I'm a smart ball player. I have a history of football in my family so I know the game."
The linebacker is just getting started with the recruiting process, and the Orange were the first to reach out. That could be a big factor down the road as he starts to gain more interest.
"I don't have any offers right now," Bates admitted. "Syracuse is the first school I've talked to. I just got done with a workout and coach told me to come into his office. When I walked in, there was the Syracuse head coach standing there. He just asked how I was, what I played, and just socialized for a few minutes. He asked if I knew anything about Syracuse and I told him no. He said maybe they could give me a reason to check them out.
"He said he has been watching me this year and liked how I played. He said he's losing some linebackers next year and wants to recruit at the junior level."
The interest from Syracuse is very fresh, and Bates is understandably still very excited. He has not spoken to teammate Duron Singleton about interest from the Orange, as he wants to get to know them on his own. However, Bates and family continue to be elated with the interest from a division one school.
"I was speechless to say the least," he recalled. "Hanging around the locker room, you see all these big time schools talking to the other guys. But when your name gets called and you go in there and see the head coach, from a school like that, it really boosts your confidence. It makes you want to be that much better. It makes me want to work hard, to get him coming back and others to look at me. It was huge.
"My family was extremely excited. My dad hasn't shut up about it since I told him. He and the rest of my family are just proud and excited about the opportunity."
Bates added that he plans to do some research on Syracuse to get to know them better. Early in the recruiting process, he is taking it all in and learning what he wants in a school.