Dillon Bates, son of former All-Pro Bill Bates and one of the most coveted linebacker recruits in the Class of 2014, announced his commitment to the Tennessee Volunteers on Wednesday night. Bates chose the Vols from nearly 30 FBS offers, citing the first impression made by new Tennessee coach Butch Jones and his comfort with the staff.
Bates is a consensus four-star prospect, earning the rating from 24/7, Rivals, and ESPN. The 6'3, 210-pound inside linebacker held offers from Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida State, Louisville, Miami, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, South Carolina, and Ole Miss, among others. Bates plays his high school football for Ponte Vedra (FL) High.
SB Nation recruiting analyst Bud Elliott expects Bates to bulk up before seeing the field:
Bates has a solid frame capable of eventually playing at 235 or more pounds. He has long arms that help him to clog passing lanes, tip and intercept balls. That said, he is more of a zone pass defender than someone who will be asked to turn and cover deep downfield. Still, he profiles as a three-down linebacker.
Against the run, Bates has a chance to be very productive. He reads and reacts to the run very well, and uses his length to defeat blockers and keep them off his shoulder pads. Bates isn't a huge hitter, but he doesn't yield much, either, and I would expect that to continue at the college level.