Durkin checks in on top 100 LB

Bates is ranked 58th overall in the Rivals100 and 88th overall in the ESPN150. (Photo by The St. Augustine Record)

Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin spent his Tuesday afternoon in Ponte Verda evaluating linebacker Dillon Bates.

His presence at practice gave the consensus four-star recruit some extra motivation.

“I definitely wanted to perform well in front of him,” Bates said. “It was good to see him there and speak with him afterward. He told me about Florida’s scheme and how what they run is similar to what my high school does. So it was just good to talk to him about football and fill him in on where I’m at with recruiting.”

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, who is ranked the nation’s No. 3 outside linebacker by ESPN and Rivals, visited Gainesville earlier this spring for UF’s first practice in full pads. Bates released his Top 5 last month and the Gators came in at No. 2 behind Tennessee.

Although the Volunteers currently lead, two other schools including Florida have a chance to change that.

“Tennessee is leading for me right now in my recruitment because of the relationships I’ve made with the coaches there,” Bates said. “But I’m definitely open with Florida and mostly Alabama. Those are two schools that I’m taking a harder look in addition to Tennessee. But there’s still a good possibility I go to Florida or Alabama. I just need to take more visits, be around the players and see different pros and cons of the schools.”

Bates hopes to see all three schools again after he wraps up spring football. He plans to announce his decision this summer at The Opening, an annual invite-only combine that runs from June 30 to July 3 at the Nike World Headquarters in Oregon.


  1. Hard to imagine why a kid from Ponte Vedra would want to go to TN and freeze his arse off for four years in that hot mess of a program. Florida is LinebackerU. He’ll come around after visits and love from our coaches.

  2. He is just like most kids in the game, most of them follow in their dad’s footsteps & go to the same school as them, which is no problem! But now a days u have to put that 2nd & go to the program that is the best fit for u! Just because ur dad was a star or had a good career at a certain school doesn’t mean u will, back in the days when his dad Bill was playing, the Vols were playing decent ball, now they are a mess, & the Gators would give him the best chance to move forward in his career! Hope he comes to us but kinds feel the father/son thing will win out….would rather c him play for the Vols than Bama though!

  3. He is all UT and I don’t have an issue with it. It’s not like its Kentucky. Yes, the program is down, but they love football up there too much and have too much tradition to stay down for long. Actually, it’s not much difference than when we were trying to sell a kid on UF two years ago when our team was hot mess.

  4. Scooterp,

    Your comparison does not work. We were “down” for two years. Most people would call that rebuilding. UT has been down for 7-8 years now with no end in sight.
    I think that is a little different.

    I figure he will end up at UT but he won’t be able to turn them around by himself.

  5. Nuff said, if he doesn’t end up at Tenn. I’ll be surprised and if he’s as good as most people think he is or could be I would hope he find himself in Gainesville. I’m not excited either way! GO GATORS!!!!