In the midst of all the prospects coming to Austin for the first Texas Longhorns Junior Day on Sunday, the coaching staff decided to extend an offer to Ponte Vedra Beach (Fla.) linebacker Dilon Bates.
If the name Bates sounds familiar, it should to Dallas Cowboys fans -- Dillon is the son of longtime Cowboys special-team standout Bill, who proudly wore the star on his helmet for his long NFL career that spanned the years of 1983 to 1997, the glory days for America's Team.
The younger Bates is a better prospect than his father was coming out of Knoxville, Tennessee when Bill joined the Volunteer program and met his future wife. At 6-3 and 220 pounds, Dillon is two inches taller and almost 10 pounds heavier than his father was during his playing career, with plenty of room on his frame to play at 235 pounds in college.
Considered a top-10 outside linebacker in the nation by the 247Sports composite rankings and a top-20 player in the state of Florida, Bates is a prospect who projects as versatile enough in college to handle himself in space against spread teams, but also has the frame and overall size to be able to match up against offensive linemen at the second level.
A native Texan, Bates spent some time growing up in Texas and is tentatively planning on visiting Austin, where the presence of a player like Jackon Jeffcoat, whose own father played with Bill Bates for the 'Boys, would likely help Bates feel more at home than he does on many out-of-state visits.
And as for the Tennessee connections, Bates has said that he's open to all possibilities, hardly unexpected for a prospect with national offers like those from national powers like Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida, Texas A&M, and Virginia Tech.
The rangy outside linebacker has already visited Tennessee twice in the last three months, along with Junior Days at several Florida schools and trips to Ohio State and Alabama, so he's had a chance to take some visits and the travel costs to make it to Austin shouldn't be an issue.
It's a longshot for the 'Horns, who finally got some good news at the linebacker position in 2014 on Sunday with the pledge of Carter linebacker Cameron Hampton, but they are probably still looking to add two more prospects in the class while moving cautiously with the evaluations of players like Allen linebacker Tay Evans, and Bates should probably make it to Austin at some point, so there's no harm in trying.
A lot of people in the industry believe it's an approach that Texas should take more often.