somehow we're only 124th
So This Jason Kates Guy...
Like this except less flammable
Think Gabe Watson. Yes, you have to include that bit about taking half the plays off, looking and moving quite like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, and probably spending at least a portion of his career in the doghouse because he keeps cheeseburgers under his pillow. But it sounds like you get those instances where he drives a guy five yards into the backfield some, too... depending on who you listen to. The major scouting services disagree more violently on Kates than any recruit I've seen since I started following this stuff. Rivals has him a solid four-star guy. Scout gives him two--a rating usually reserved for MAC/Michigan State recruits.
Who to believe? Hell if I know. Notre Dame recruited him earlier in the year and he might have committed or something... the details are fuzzy. We do know that ESPN was reporting his commitment... and simultaneously taking flak for it:
Tom Luginbill: Hello football fans and welcome. Before I start off, I would like to address the Jason Kates issue as it relates to him commiting to Notre Dame. We have credible sources and believe that he has committed to Notre Dame and we will stick to that notion for the time being. If anything changes, I can assure you we will let you know right away. We do not feel it to be necessary to change our stance at this time.
There are rumors that there were some academic issues, though nothing of the sort has been mentioned since. It sounds like a situation where ND was hesitant to accept a commitment from Kates after offering due to lackluster senior year play and pulled some "er, tests... core thing... um, GPA call us later" thing. If that speculation's correct, that's not a good sign. I'd rather he triumphantly overcome his academic issue than have no serious ones at all and be shooed away. (Obviously, the previous paragraph is mere conjecture.)
ESPN likes him okay, giving him a 6.6:
Kates gives you a big bodied presence on the defensive line with good strength and athletic ability. ... He does a very good job of using his hands to get separation and keeping them active the whole time he is engaged to maintain separation and free himself. He can hold his ground at the point of attack and has the lower body strength to anchor in.
It sounds like this: Kates doesn't have the natural ability of Watson (who was a consensus OMG SHIRTLESS recruit), so if he has Watson's lackadasical work ethic he'll never see the field. If he gets his ass in gear, though, the high-four-star buzz that was being batted around earlier in the year when Kates was being chased heavily by ND and Penn State could come to fruition: he could match Watson's production. That was All Big Ten. He's got upside, baby!