It’s 62 days before the K-State Wildcats meet the North Dakota State Bison, and #62 Xavier Gates is our next point of focus on the countdown. Gates, a defensive tackle from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is an enticing prospect that hopes to step up in 2013 with all four members of last year’s starting defensive line having departed this spring.
Gates is a redshirt sophomore expected to be a second string DT behind senior Chaquil Reed. AT 6’3″ and 316 pounds, he doesn’t give up much size to any opposing offensive linemen. He was named to the 2010 Patriot News All-State team and played both sides of the line as a defensive and offensive tackle. K-State is also lucky to have him due to an interesting series of events.
The Patriot News did a an interesting piece on Gates, who encountered a rough recruiting journey. Following the departure of his high school coach during his senior year, college teams were left without a direct line to players at John Harris High School. Fortunately, Gates applied as a regular student to multiple schools. K-State was one of those schools, as Gates has set his sights on being an architect and valued the program in Manhattan. He was accepted, but never heard back from the football team.
Gates eventually made a recruiting DVD he sent around the nation, receiving responses from Temple, LSU, and K-State in April when none of the schools had open scholarship spots remaining. However, he was offered preferred walk-on status and after a year on the scout team and a redshirt freshman year on the sidelines, he’s ready to be a productive contributor as part of the line’s rotation. Gates has a lot of potential and the program is the fortunate benefactor of a recruiting complication. However, he’s in a program he wanted to values playing the game he loves, and hopefully he finds success both in the classroom and on the field over the next three years.
To work backwards in the countdown, visit 63 days, where we examine longsnapper Marcus Heit.