Tuesday, April 30, 2013
ESPN 150 LB Bates talks Texas interest
By William Wilkerson
It’s convenient to assume that Tennessee is the only UT on the mind of ESPN 150 outside linebacker Dillon Bates (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla./Ponte Vedra).
His father, Dallas Cowboys special teams legend Bill Bates, played for the Volunteers in the early 1980s before a 15-year career with Dallas.
ESPN 150 linebacker Dillon Bates has a top five of Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina.
But that is simply not the case. Texas is also very prevalent to Bates, the No. 3 OLB in the country and No. 88 player in the ESPN 150.
He made that a public fact when he included the Longhorns in his top five along with Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina on April 13.
It’s a good sign for a Longhorns program that already has commitments from three linebackers in Cameron Hampton (Dallas/Carter), Andrew Beck (Tampa, Fla./Plant) and Otaro Alaka (Houston/Cy Falls). And it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Bates spent the first eight years of his life living in Plano, Texas, while his father played for the Cowboys. He still considers himself a Texan.
Those Lone Star roots were one of the many reasons Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and head coach Mack Brown extended an offer to him during the Longhorns’ first junior day.
“Growing up in Texas, I always grew up a fan of Texas football,” he said. “It’s just always been a program that I am interested in. It’s a school that I am interested in visiting and looking more into. We will before the summer or later this summer.”
Bates, who is 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds, understands that’s it’s easy to link him with Tennessee, but he insists that his father isn’t pushing him toward Knoxville.
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“When we sit down and talk about it, he’s always told me to go where I feel I am most comfortable,” Bates said. “Growing up in Tennessee there is always that pull to go there. But he tells me not to listen to that and to go where I think I best fit in and will feel comfortable going for the next three to four to five years.”
Bill Bates has gotten used to seeing his sons go out of state to play in college. Dillon’s older brothers just wrapped up their football careers at Northwestern and Arkansas State.
“Our Saturdays are just crazy,” Bill Bates said. “We have a year off right now. We are going to enjoy it while it lasts.”
Another positive for Texas is the fact that Bill Bates travels to the state routinely for work. In fact, Bates was in Dallas last week and is scheduled to be in the state again for a golf function.
Bill Bates doesn’t have much of a connection with Texas’ staff but knows that his son has a strong bond with the Longhorns through time spent in the state and his friends who grew up obsessed with Texas.
“He grew up in Dallas. He was born there and so all of his buddies are just Longhorn crazy,” Bill Bates said. “He grew up with all the kids being Longhorns so he was just around it all the time. That’s the main thing. Obviously the coaches are great and there is a great history there, too.”