As reported on BulldogBlitz.com earlier today, Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek athlete Michael Gates became Mississippi State's 19th public commitment Monday night when he called coach Woody McCorvey and stated his intentions. A versatile prospect with the potential to play various positions of need for the Bulldogs, he will be in Starkville this weekend on an official visit. Gates comments on his decision.
"I called coach McCorvey and told him I had committed to Mississippi Sate," he said. "Me and my parents have been talking about it for a while now. I really didn't want to talk about it yet (in a Sunday night interview with BulldogBlitz.com), but I have been thinking about it a whole lot, and I was in school Monday and I just made my decision then."
What were the key components that factored into his decision?
"I liked the coaches," he said. "Like coach McCorvey he would always call me and see how I am doing. I talked to coach Croom a bunch of times on the phone and they were also one of the first colleges to offer me. They have been pursuing me more than anybody.
"I just liked talking to them and seeing how down to earth they were. I didn't think it would be like that. I thought it would be strictly business, but they made it seem like we were just friends and I think that is key in any kind of relationship. The coach needs to be able to relate with his players.
"That is like my best fit. After looking at the depth chart, it is a perfect fit."
At 6-4 and 260 pounds, Gates has room to grow and could be used at several positions, depending on how he fills out. Where does he see himself playing?
"I do want to play tight end, but I think later on, maybe two or three years down the line, I might move to o-line or d-line" he said. "I know I will probably gain weight and grow a few inches taller. I will be happy at any position though."
Originally from New York, Gates moved to the South only a year ago. His move brought many changes, including the introduction to hard-nose, smash-mouth, southern football, and that has changed his life.
"My dad is from down here and wanted to get back home," he explained. "At first I was not that excited about it. It was a big transition, but after I started playing football and attending practices and workouts, seeing how football was life and everybody was united, I liked it. It made me start to love the game."
That love brought in several scholarship offers, and he had narrowed it down to two –
Ole Miss and Mississippi State – before making his final choice. He will visit Mississippi State this weekend (Jan. 14) and had a visit scheduled for Ole Miss the following weekend. Will he take that trip?
"I am still debating that," he said. "My parents still want to talk that over. Right now it is still scheduled."
Stay tuned to BulldogBlitz.com to see how his official visit goes this weekend and to find out if the takes that last trip. You can also tune into WSSO, 1230 AM in the Starkville/Columbus area each Saturday from 8AM to 9AM to hear the latest from the BulldogBlitz.com staff and their guests – including coach Croom, and representatives from the men's and women's basketball team this week. To submit questions to be read on the air, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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