Houston Bates went into the LSU camp with an agenda – impress the LSU staff enough to possibly earn a scholarship offer from LSU.
"I talked to Coach [Joe] Robinson when I checked out of camp and before I went in to see Coach Miles and he told me that Coach Miles was going to be offering," Bates said. "I went in and Coach Miles said that he wanted me on the team and he would accept my commitment right now."
Bates admitted that he had always dreamed of playing at LSU, but he had also promised himself and his parents that he would handle the recruiting process in a mature way.
"I told him I wanted to take some time because I told myself I was going to do that and he said that was fine and just to call him when the time was right," Bates said.
Bates has been a standout defensive end for St. Paul's in Covington since he started high school. Not including two playoff games during his junior season, he finished the regular season with 63 tackles (34 solos and 29 assists), including 10 for loss and 14 sacks.
At 6-foot-2 and 226 pounds, some feel that Bates may be undersized to play defensive end at the SEC level. However, his 4.65 speed combined with his football savvy can be used somewhere on the football field and Bates was put to the test the last few days.
After working out at linebacker for three sessions, Bates spent the other three sessions with the running backs where he worked out at fullback.
"They were all very impressed and Coach Robinson said that he thought I had a future to play there [linebacker]," Bates said. "Coach Porter said that it was like I had been playing fullback for a while even though that was my first taste of fullback. I guess I showed them that I can play other positions and that I'm versatile. Now they just have to figure out which position they like me at."
The coaches weren't only ones impressed with Bates' ability to adjust to a new role.
"I liked it," he said. "I think my body type is a good fit for linebacker and also my attitude. I think for a linebacker you have to have an attitude of a beast and I think I do. The same goes for fullback. I'm just going to do whatever it takes and I'm going to push myself harder than anybody else."
With offers from Colorado, SMU and Florida International already in his pocket, Bates now has something new to ponder. One thing he doesn't have to think too hard about, though, is who is running in the pole position.
"It was a huge relief," he said. "I've been waiting on that [offer] for my whole life since I was a kid and dreamed about playing college football."
"There's no doubt, it's LSU," Bates added when asked if LSU was on top. "I just want to take a little more time and think a little more. But LSU is definitely No. 1."