Florida Football Star has Famous Dallas Cowboy Name to Live Up to
By Michael Chung
There is no secret Ohio State is in need of quality linebackers, and head coach Urban Meyer is looking here, there and everywhere for them.
With Meyer’s strong Florida roots, there will be a lot of Ohio State offers express delivered to the Sunshine State in the coming years.
When one of those kids has a father who played linebacker in the NFL for 15 years for the heralded Dallas Cowboys, that stock instantly rises. Florida linebacker prospect Dillon Bates is the son of Dallas Cowboy legend Bill Bates who played under legendary coaches Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson, and Barry Switzer (whose legend was mainly from his Oklahoma days).
An outside linebacker in the class of 2014, Bates has no shortage of offers: 20 plus to date. His dad played at Tennessee and he has been around football all his life. It looks like he is a chip off the old block as Dillon compares himself, his drive, and work ethic mostly to his dad, a great model to follow. The 4-star prospect out of Ponte Vedra took time to talk to Ozone about his recruitment.
Ozone: What offers do you already have?
Bates: Tennessee, Northwestern, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Miami, Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech are some. I have around 20 offers in all.
Ozone: How old were you when you moved to Florida?
Bates: When I was 8, my dad worked for the Jacksonville Jaguars under Jack Del Rio. That ended quickly after just a few years but we decided to stay in Florida instead of moving around so I have lived here for 10 years. My dad does a lot of motivational speaking and has his own shoulder pad company, a really awesome product.
Ozone: When did you realize your dad was a famous football player?
Bates: I never really thought of him as a football player; he is my father. I remember going to games and going to the locker room thinking it was normal. It was an awesome part of my childhood growing up around football and it gives me a better football IQ, awareness, etc.
My dad played 15 years and he loves football and it is my main dream to follow is his footsteps to the NFL.
Ozone: What factors do you think are most important to you in selecting a school?
Bates: My main goal is to go the NFL, but football will end so I want to go to school that I can have a degree that I can support my family with. I want to study sports management and exercise science.
Ozone: Do you have a top 5?
Bates: I am still trying to keep an open mind. It is still early, there are still schools that are coming along. I want to see what I like and dislike in schools. I have not narrowed my list, but I know it will be soon, sometime in spring.
Ozone: Have you formed a close relationship with any of the coaching staffs recruiting you?
Bates: Everyone is talked to almost every week. I talk to some coaches more. I relate coach (Tony) Alford from ND, Steve Spurrier Jr. from South Carolina, coach Tim Hinton from OSU, and coach Sal Sunseri from Tennessee. We will see who the new head coach for Tennessee is, Jon Gruden would be great for UT, but he has a good job doing Monday Night Football.
Ozone: Did you have a childhood favorite college football team?
Bates: Not really, I liked watching college football and Sunday watching NFL. I loved football and watched as much as I could. I watched a lot of Tennessee cause my dad went there.
Ozone: When you hear the school Ohio State, what thoughts cross your mind?
Bates: Top tradition in college football, a historic program, a great fan base, living in Florida there is a huge OSU fan base. There will be 100’s of thousands of fans at each home game.
Ozone: When will you visit OSU?
Bates: I am not sure, sometime in Spring for a practice most likely.
Ozone: Which schools have you already visited?
Bates: Alabama, South Carolina, FSU, Tennessee and Ohio State.
Ozone: Tell me about your Ohio State visit?
Bates: Fan base was walking around before the game and fans would come up to me and shake my hand, asking me to come. With that great of a fan base, it is exciting to see that they love their program. Facilities are awesome, everything about OSU was a good visit, really good time talking to coaches and they offered which was icing on cake.
Ozone: What lessons has your dad taught you?
Bates: I take a lot of advice from him. One main thing that stands out: do not take anything for granted, do not take a play off in a game, and go to the practice as if it were your last. Every fundamental should try to be perfected. I want to be a great player and the best player I can be. In school and whatever I do, go at 100%.
Ozone Quick hitters:
Do you consider yourself a Texan or a Floridian? Never really thought of it spent more time in Florida but consider myself from Texas, I guess Texan.
Favorite NFL team? Cowboys
Favorite food? Italian, lasagna
Favorite ice cream? Cookies and Cream
Favorite candy? Sour Patch Kids
*Thank you Dillon for giving us insight into your life and recruitment. No wonder your dad was such a great player and had such an illustrious career. We hope you can follow in his footsteps and do the same.