One of Durango High School’s top prep stars is getting ready to play on a national stage. You’re watching the Local News Network brought to you by Man Cave Barber and 2180 Lighting and Design Studio. I’m Connor Shreve. Durango football senior, Josh Bates is one of the most highly recruited Durango high school athletes in recent memory, committing to play for the University of Oklahoma before his junior season. But before he gets to work in Norman he’ll get to showcase his skills with 99 of the other top high school players in the country at the All-American Bowl, January seventh. Last summer, Bates got a call from a twenty-four-seven recruiting analyst who told the lineman he was one of just three Colorado football players to earn a four star rating.
He ends up inviting me to the NBC All-American Bowl which is broadcast in front of 17 million people on average before the playoff games on Saturday. And it was really cool, and it was something I watched on TV as a younger cat, you know in middle school. And all my life growing up I was like at the end of my high school career, I want to do something like that. And I want to get the opportunity to play and compete at the highest high school level. And it was kind of big shock for me. It was really an honor so.
Durango has been one of Colorado’s top 3A programs during Bates’ tenure. Still, he knows the learning curve will be steep.
They’re as smart as I am when it comes to football. They’re as athletic, they’re bigger, they’re faster. So it’s going to be just something I haven’t experienced before. But I’ve gone to camps with guys like that and I’ve hung in just fine. So, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.
The center prospect earned a scholarship offer from just about every blue blood program in the country. Oregon, USC, Miami among others, but his first offer came from Colorado and Bates says one of his favorite things about the recruiting process was talking to CU about his father’s legacy as a Buffalo. Justin Bates played for CU before being drafted by Dallas in the seventh round in 2003. The two have an important bond.
Yeah, he’s helped me a bunch. You know, the biggest thing is really how to navigate through it. How to talk to these coaches, what kind of image am I giving to all of these coaches and all these people, all the media and really just how to carry myself.
It is a classic football cliche that offensive linemen are the smartest players on the field. And while that can be overused, Durango High School football coach Todd Cacebier says Bates’ football IQ is off the charts.
He has a football player mindset. Like he’s a very smart kid and understands not just offensive line play, but offensive play, which is pretty unique for a high school kid. I mean, he knows a football really well, not just his job. So that’s pretty unique and I know they recognize that and appreciate it and they hope to play him at Center there which means you kind of make all the offensive line calls and he’s more than capable of doing that.
And while Bates comes across as more soft spoken than you might expect a six foot three, 305 pound road grader to be, he certainly doesn’t lack any confidence when it comes to his game.
Nasty, physical, mean football player. Very smart when it comes to the game of football. You know, I’ve always thought about is I’m just able to take myself out of my body and look at everything from an aerial standpoint and just be able to sort everything out. I’m very good with playbooks, watching tape. I watched probably as much tape as some coaches do.
However far Bates game takes him, it seems he’ll always have a soft spot for his Durango roots.
In my four years of high school, I’ve played at all four of the years here at Durango High School. You guys always came out and supported us. Our state championship year was awesome and not a whole lot of people can have a great four years of high school football like that. And I was able to have those great four years in a beautiful town with amazing people in Durango, so I appreciate it.
Josh Bates has graduated high school early and will enroll at Oklahoma in January to take part in spring practice with the Sooners. He says he’s most looking forward to developing camaraderie with his teammates and living out his longtime dream of playing high level college football. Thanks for watching the Local News Network. I’m Connor Shreve.