TE John Bates, Boise State
HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL): Lebanon, OR (Lebanon)
247 RATING: .8284
POSITION RANK: 6
Receiving: 35 catches, 462 yards (13.2 ypc), 2 touchdowns
Receiving: 22 catches, 273 yards (12.4 ypc), 1 touchdown
John Bates Breakdown
Tight ends might be back in Boise, and John Bates leads that charge. He gives the Broncos a big body who combines power and athleticism well. His production might not indicate a player with great potential as a pass catcher, but his skill say otherwise.
Bates quickly became freshman Hank Bachmeier’s go-to target when the season began. At 6’6”, it’s easy to see why he’s a good target. While he’s not the most fleet of foot, Bates makes up for a lack of speed with other things. He might not get a ton of separation from his man, but he’s athletic enough where that doesn’t matter. His length provides him with a great catch radius when a ball isn’t thrown perfectly or a guy is right on him. He’s also a big body that’s hard to run through, so knocking him off of his route isn’t easy. Bates has a great release that allows him to avoid any reroutes from linebackers that pushes him out of the play. With less competition at his position, his production should increase. Normally, a great pass catcher at tight end struggles to block, but that’s far from the case with him.
Sustaining blocks still needs improvement, but his explosion off the ball is great. Bates wins his battles up front by driving his hips before his defender can, and that helps him get leverage on his man quickly. Once he has the leverage, it’s tough for his man to recover and typically that results in Bates planting his guy on the ground.
John Bates didn’t get much attention last year with the competition and rotating quarterbacks, but he can get more love this year by continuing to do what he does best. He’s a physical player in both the run and pass games, but he also brings great athleticism. Even if Bachmeier needs time to get settled in after missing a good chunk of time due to injuries, he knows he can throw the ball up to Bates, and there’s a high probability that good things will happen.