SJHS’ Bates becomes second parish footballer to commit to college scholarship offer

SPRING GAME...Warren Bates is shown running the ball, at left, and at the center of the St. John High defense as its middle linebacker, at right, during the Eagles’ spring football game. Bates committed last Saturday to a gridiron scholarship offer by Louisiana Tech.

St. John High senior football standout Warren Bates, Jr. committed Saturday to a gridiron scholarship offer by Louisiana Tech.

The 2010-2011 senior paid a visit recently to the Tech campus in Ruston, felt comfortable at the university, and committed to sign in the future.

Bates is the second Iberville Parish prep football talent and returning District 8-A standout to make an early college scholarship commitment. His announcement came a week after White Castle High’s Ronald Martin committed to LSU.

Bates is the son of former Plaquemine High linebacker-back Warren Bates, Sr., who played a handful of successful seasons as a Green Devil star for Coach Don Jones in the 1980s.

Bates attended middle school at University Lab in Baton Rouge, but transferred to St. John. He is expected to earn his fourth letter. He played briefly at running back his frosh season at SJHS, then moved to a starting linebacker position for two seasons. Although defense has been his forte, he has performed as a backup running back the last two seasons. According to SJHS Coach Barry “Tut” Musemeche, the 6-0, 208-lb. senior will see plenty of two-way duty as a ball carrier and middle linebacker this coming season for the Eagles.

Quiet off the field, but aggressive on it, Bates made all-district last year after recording 95 tackles, six sacks, and a pass interception. He helped the Eagles notch a 12-2 season record and a District 8-A crown. SJHS marched all the way to the state semifinals last year for the fourth time since 1998.

If Bates ends up signing a scholarship with La. Tech, he will become the third Iberville Parish athlete to do so. Former all-state defensive end-running back and All-American prep track hurdler Ronnie Williams of Plaquemine High signed with Tech back in the early 1980s. He was used primarily as a kick return specialist. He led the nation in kickoff returns for a period of time during his career.

Bates will follow closely in the footsteps of another SJHS Eagle, the second parish footballer to sign with Tech. Jonte’ Price signed and played linebacker for the Bulldogs in the late 1990s after an outstanding career at SJHS as a three-way standout in football, basketball, and baseball. Price, similar to Bates, was a linebacker-running back. He played for Coach Erik Willis in the mid-to-late 1990s. Price’ senior season he helped lead the Eagles to the Class A state championship game, where St. John took runner-up honors. In recent years Jonte’ was elected to the Monsignor Robin St. John High Athletic Hall of Fame.

Bates had been recruited seriously by Louisiana Monroe and South Alabama before he committed.

The Bulldog coaching staff reportedly is interested in moving Bates to an outside linebacker position to utilize his speed and athleticism.

Playing for Tech will offer Warren the opportunity to see parts of the Western United States as well as Hawaii. One of the top teams in the nation, Boise State, is a member of the Western Athletic Conference, along with Tech. Others in the WAC are San Jose State, Fresno State, Utah State, Nevada, New Mexico State, Hawaii, and Idaho. The WAC is known for its explosive, offensive football play