The 90 Illini #15: Houston Bates August 17, 2012
6′-3″, 240 lbs.
rs-Sophomore (on scholarship, 3 years to play 3)
St. Paul’s HS / Covington, Louisiana
ALE Ranking last year: #30
ALE Ranking in 2010: #79
What I Know About Him:
He’s going to be the old man on this defense soon, he’ll be the only sophomore starting on this defense this fall. Next year, he might be only one of two starters to return (seven seniors start, plus Akeem Spence and Jonathan Brown will have a decision to make). So next year, it might just be Bates and STEVEHULL returning. Wow. That sinks in a little more each time I type it. We might return two starters next year on defense. Two.
And I need to mention (again) how lucky we were to get Bates. He was committed to LSU, but on signing day, when they received a few verbals, he was asked to take a grayshirt and accept a 2011 scholarship. He backed out, we found him, and now he’s our starting Will Linebacker.
Oh, and if you see RBOBK in any tweets or postgame reports this fall, that’s Bates. Vic Koenning called him a Rolling Ball Of Butcher Knives, and so R-BOB-K was born.
What I Expect From Him:
Brit Miller’s sophomore year. 2006 was Miller’s first year as a starter, and he had a decent (yet a bit inconsistent) sophomore campaign. But he built that into a solid 2007 and then a great 2008. That’s the same ladder that I’d like Bates to climb. This year, maybe 45-50 tackles. Next year, 70-75. Senior year, well north of 100.
Actually, there’s a chance he takes a different path. At 6′-3″ and 240 pounds, he’s not THAT far from becoming a Leo defensive end. In fact, he was headed to LSU to play DE. In this defense (or at least what I think this defense will be), there’s a thin line between the weakside linebacker and the weakside defensive end. I think Bates could possibly make that jump if linebackers like Henry Dickinson, Ralph Cooper, and Zeph Grimes start to push for playing time.