Will Muschamp and his staff have made sure to recruit the linebacker position very hard this year.
One of those prospects is Ponte Vedra (Fla.) High linebacker Dillon Bates, who recently cut his list of schools to a top 5.
“I felt like I need to cut my list of schools down before the evaluation period started,” Bates said. “So I decided to go ahead and get it of the way. My top 5 schools are Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Texas and South Carolina in order.”
The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Bates is a Tennessee legacy as his father played for the Vols, something that has helped Tennessee a large part in his recruitment so far.
“With Tennessee, I have visited them three times this spring,” Bates said. “So I’m real interested in them and I followed them growing up with my dad playing there. It was a great experience visiting them after watching them for so long.”
While Bates has the family connection to Tennessee, he has the local connection to Florida that is weighing on him as well.
“I have also visited Florida several times this spring,” Bates said. “Florida is so close to home and I have a bunch of friends that go to Florida and they are all telling me to stay home and go to Florida and they will come and visit me and stuff. When I think about that, it seems cool to be able to have my friends there with me.”
Both Tennessee and Florida have early playing time to offer Bates and he has been able to sit down and watch film with both of them.
“I can get on the field quick at either one,” Bates said. “I was able to sit down with coach (D.J.) Durkin and watch film and see how I would fit into their defense and I think I can thrive in it.”
Bates says he plans to take official visits to all of his top 5 schools and he also expects all of those schools to stop by to see him this spring.