Dillon Bates ranks solidly in the top 10 outside linebackers, among the 15 best Floridians, and the top 100 recruits for 2014 -- all numbers that place his talent among the best in the country.
According to the 247sports composite, Tallahassee (Fla.) Amos P. Godby's Jacob Pugh still slightly edges Bates out for the title of best outside linebacker in Florida, but it is still relatively close between them, and that could change before the final evaluations are in for this year. Rivals rates Bates as high as 67th among 2014 recruits, while ESPN and Yahoo both have him a bit lower in the 95-105 range.
The 6'3, 200 pounder currently plays for Ponte Vedra Beach (Fla.) right now, but come next year, he'll be looking to make an impact among the college ranks. He has offers from at least 29 programs, including Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Massachusetts, UCLA and Ohio State.
Bud Elliott, National Recruiting Analyst: Dillon Bates is a Tennessee football legacy, the son of Volunteers' legend Bill Bates. And he definitely got some of his dad's football playing genes.
Bates has an OK frame for a linebacker, and will probably top out in the 235-pound range. He is not someone who is likely to blow up to 250 pounds at linebacker.
His best asset is his quickness, both mental and physical. He is very quick to diagnose the play, do so correctly, and then pull the pin and get after the ball carrier or into the passing lanes. Bates' quickness allows him to beat bigger blockers, taking an efficient path to the football by being judicious with his steps and smart with his hands. He seems to have a good sense for how routes develop, and he pairs that with quickness and jumps routes quite a bit.
Bates is a bit limited physically. He is not a freakish athlete, but I think he can be more than just a solid linebacker, and perhaps early on. I think Bates fits best as a weak-side linebacker, having ball carriers funneled to him, allowing him to run sideline to sideline, making tackles.