Based on his intelligence, size and potential, he projects to be one of the state's top prospects by the time he's a senior in 2014. The fact he made the trip from Murfreesboro to Knoxville and left with a favorable impression of Tennessee's camp represents a positive first step in his recruitment.
"The camp was real helpful," he said. "The running blocks and passing blocks they helped us with was real helpful."
Although he worked mostly with offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, Yates also was impressed with the other Vol staffers he met.
"They're real good coaches," he said. "They helped us out a whole lot."
Yates was especially grateful for the pointers he got from Hiestand and the other Vol assistants.
"I liked how much feedback they gave us on what we were doing wrong," Yates said.
Being a 4.0 student from mid-state, he also has interest in the rich academic tradition at nearby Vanderbilt. He attended a Commodore camp this summer, as well.
"I'm looking for a good academic school because I want to be an engineer," he said. "And I'm looking for a football program that will pay for me to go to school."
Whereas Vanderbilt has an edge in academic reputation, Tennessee has a significant advantage in facilities and winning tradition. Yates was especially impressed with the Vols' indoor practice building.
"It's a real nice facility," he said. "They've put a lot of effort into keeping it nice and making it work for us."