Lovejoy linebacker Demarquis Gates can identify with those in the Georgia program.
Gates and his Lovejoy teammates carried a lead into the fourth quarter of the 2012 GHSA AAAAAA State Championship game against Norcross, and watched it slip away in the final five minutes.
While Georgia was five yards away instead of five minutes, Gates admits that he can sympathize with the Georgia faithful and getting his team back to that place is the only thing on his mind.
"Yes," Gates said when asked if losing in the state championship game was motivating him this off-season. "A Championship is all that we are thinking about. It was five minutes. That is all. We were five minutes away, and we want to get back to that championship."
He and his teammates may have come up just short on winning a title last year, but Gates' recruitment has gotten off to a solid start.
The star junior already has three offers from the likes of Ole Miss, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and is happy with the way the recruiting process is going at present.
"Recruiting is going good for me," he said. "A lot of schools are starting to talk to me and a lot of interviews, too. It is getting better and better every day."
On Saturday, Gates made the trip to Athens for the UGA Junior Day and says the Georgia staff kept him busy.
"My uncle took me. He is one of my coaches. I went with one of my fellow teammates, Randy (Anyanwu)," Gates said of Saturday's events. "I went up there and they showed us around the locker rooms. They talked to us a bit, and we ate. It was cool. It was good."
The four-star linebacker wasn't just busy taking part in different activities and seeing new things.
He also spent a lot of time with Georgia coaches.
"Coach (Chris) Wilson, he is my recruiting coach, and I talked with him a bit," he said. "Coach (Kirk) Olivadotti and Coach (Todd) Grantham, too. They said they are supposed to have a meeting today and for me to call them tomorrow and talk to me about an offer tomorrow."
But is the Rivals250 linebacker optimistic than an offer from the Bulldogs is on the way?
"I think they are coming with an offer," Gates said of his confidence level in getting a UGA offer. "They say I am high on their recruiting board and stuff. So hopefully it will come tomorrow."
At Rising Seniors week in December, Gates' told UGASports that his dream offer would be one from the Bulldogs.
An offer appears to be quite possible at this point in time, and Gates explains why the chance to play at UGA is something is hoping to receive.
"They are a great program," he said. "I love the facilities, the locker room, and it is big enough for me but small enough as well. I love the coaching staff. All of them are friendly and they are real energetic just like me. I just love the vibe there."
In the next few months, offers will roll in for the Peach State defender and visits will be taken, but the main focus of Gates' off-season is winning a championship in his final season.
In order to see that come to fruition, he knows he will have to take his play to the next level.
"I just want to get better overall," Gates said. "My coaches say that I'll be playing a lot of positions next year. I'll be playing down at end and at safety some, so I want to just get better overall and work on my hands and my feet. I want to get bigger, faster, and everything like that."
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