April 9, 2009

Northeast Juco Corner Checking out the Bears

The Bears addressed a big need at cornerback with their first commitment of the 2010 recruiting class, Gilmer star Tristan Holt. With many upperclassmen making up the defensive back rotation next season, Baylor is looking to add a couple of junior college corners that will be able to come in and play a lot in 2010.

One player that the Bears have targeted already is Orchard Park (NY) Erie junior college's Andre Kates. Typically when a school recruits a player that far away from their campus the player has some tie to the school or coaches, or the player being recruited is an exceptional talent. Both are true when it comes to Kates.

"I just got off with Coach (Brian) Norwood maybe twenty minutes before you called," said Kates. "He's from my area. Phil Taylor is also a real close friend of mine. That added Baylor to the top of my list."

Phil Taylor has had a big impact during practices since transferring from Penn State, but Taylor may have just as big of an impact off of it if the Bears are able to land Kates.

"I always talk with Phil. He's one of my best friends," said Kates. "We went to middle school together. He told me that he thinks I can come in and start right away."

If Taylor is trying to convince his friend to join him in Waco, what has he said about his time in the lone star state?

"Phil told me that he likes it a lot. He said there are a lot of ladies, and I think that's how he's trying to get me to come," said Kates "I'm going to take a visit down there with my girlfriend. I'm going to take her down to North Carolina with me, and I'm going to take her to Baylor with me too. Hopefully she can enroll there at Baylor. Whichever school takes her and me at the same time is the school I'm going to go to."

While the two guys from Maryland have a long history, Kates learned recently that he has a lot of connections with Baylor defensive coordinator Brian Norwood as well.

"I've been talking with coach Norwood for probably six to seven months now, and we always just talk about life," said Kates. "He knows a couple of people that I know. He knew one of my high school coaches who passed away. Coach Norwood told me that he went to the funeral, but I didn't see him there. We've talked on the phone about how they want me to come down for a visit, and how he's from the area where I'm from.

Kates currently claims offers from Baylor, Miami, Florida, Maryland, and Buffalo. Although they have yet to offer, he took a trip to North Carolina recently which has put them at the top of his list.

"I'm really interested in Baylor," said Kates. "This past weekend I went to North Carolina, and they're kind of my leader right now. I'd rank them North Carolina, then Florida, and Baylor. I think when I take a visit to Baylor then everything might change."

Recruiting has really picked up for Kates recently as Oklahoma, Boston College, Ohio State, and Florida State among others have all expressed a lot of interest. Because of the new attention that he has received, Kates' goal is to commit to a school before his birthday (May 30th).

"I want to get it out of the way," said Kates about when he'd like to make a decision. "Things are starting to heat up for me right now. After I leave Baylor and come back from that visit then I'll have my choice made."

Primarily a quarterback and receiver in high school, Kates made the move to defense for the first time in his football career last season and excelled. After leading the team in tackles and interceptions, he was named to the all-conference team.

Kates wasn't able to qualify out of high school, but he has become much more diligent in the classroom. Currently sporting a gpa over three, the blue chip corner is looking for a school and coaching staff that will support him both academically and personally.

"First thing first is academics," said Kates regarding what he is looking for in a school. "They have to have a good academic program. I didn't qualify out of high school, but I'm serious about academics now. The facilities have to be nice, and I want cool, down to earth coaches. I know which coaches are trying to play me. I won't say any names, but I know which coaches are real and which coaches aren't. That's where Baylor and North Carolina both stick out. The coaches there are real."

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