The Wolverine

October 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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  PREP PROFILES Although he held offers from only Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Tech and several other mid-major pro- grams early this spring, Kaplan, La., defensive end Jalen Bates came on fast. Texas Tech and Michigan entered the fray in late April, and imme- diately moved up his list. H i s c o n n e c - t i o n w i t h t h e Texas Tech pro- gram stems from the hard work the Red Raiders' coaches have put in to recruitin g him. With Michigan, there's another factor at play. "I have a cousin who went to Michi- gan, Jonas Mouton [linebacker from 2006-10]," Bates said. "I talked to him, and he was just saying how amazing all the stuff was there. It's like a family and they treat you great while you're there. They develop you. He's in the NFL now, so I wouldn't mind follow- ing in his footsteps." Despite the positive feedback from his cousin, the 6-5, 235-pound three- star was hesitant to think too much of a program more than 1,000 miles — and further than that culturally — away from his home. However, when he finally made it to campus for the Barbecue at The Big House recruiting event July 27, his perceptions were shattered. "I was thinking about backing out, but I'm happy I didn't because I en- joyed myself so much," he said. "The campus, the barbecue, all that. The coaches treated me like family, and it was fun. It was like going to visit fam- ily almost. It was great. "I didn't ex- p e c t i t b e i n g this good. I'm a Southern per- son, so I thought it was just going to be like a whole different world, and people were going to treat me differently. Everybody treated me like they've known me forever. I didn't expect it to be that much fun." Bates plans to make a late-Septem- ber commitment, after official visits to Ann Arbor and Lubbock, along with trips to the campuses of Arizona State, Louisiana Lafayette and Mississippi State. If U-M can reel him in, they'll be taking on a high-potential pass rusher. "I just try to dominate the person in front of me," he said. "I don't care about anything else. If the play does run to me, then I'll make the play. I have a high motor. I have the speed. The thing I'm lacking is my tech- nique." A pass-rush specialist can play a role pretty much anywhere, and U-M coaches are hoping it's Ann Arbor. — Tim Sullivan Louisiana Defensive End Has A Family Connection To U-M ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Kaplan High School Kaplan, La. Class: 2015 Position: Defensive End Ht.: 6-5 • Wt.: 235 Rankings: No. 22 player in Louisiana and No. 30 strongside defen- sive end nationally Jalen Bates

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