After a slow start to the month of July, Toledo notched its first commitment in a month on Monday evening when 2015 safety Jessie Bates gave an oral pledge to the Rockets, upping the number of commits so far to 17.
The third defensive back commit for the Rockets so far, Bates is a big safety prospect with an intermediating frame. Listed at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, the Fort Wayne, Indiana resident is one of the larger defensive backs in the class of 2015, and fits a trend we're seeing at the professional level of larger, more physical safeties that have the size of a linebacker.
Rated as a 2-star prospect, Bates is also is considered 29th best prospect in his home state of Indiana by 247Sports. The hoosier state native chose the Rockets over Toledo's MAC West rival, Ball State. He told FortWayne.com he chose Toledo because of the fact that the Rockets offer his idela major, physical therapy, and because he feels like he can "fit in with their defense..."
According to Bates the Rockets plan to have him bulk up to the 210-215 pound range. He's already a powerful hitter and with that size on his already large frame, as long as he can maintain his athleticism, Bates has the potential to give MAC offenses fits. He'd be able to go toe-for-toe with the most athletic of receivers, while also being big and strong enough to be a threat in the run game.
Toledo's secondary is deep right now, and he'll likely have to wait awhile to see the field, which gives him plenty of time to bulk up and develop behind more experienced players. That's a scary thought for the rest of the MAC, but a great potential weapon for the Rockets' defense.
Check out Bates' highlights, courtesy of Hudl: