There's reason for Nick Gates' sudden excitement. It has nothing to do with the tackle's upcoming hunt for another state title or the fact that his 6-foot-5 frame combined with his impressive footwork have him looking like a BCS-level offensive tackle. The baseball scouts sniffing around are reason for jubilation as well. But that's not it, either.
Today, things are simpler. His excitement stems from a single scholarship offer. Gates has invitations from Colorado State and Nevada-Reno already to his name, but it's the one that arrived from Arizona last week that high school junior buzzing.
"It's my first big offer and I really like it right now," Gates said.
Wildcat assistant David Lockwood offered Gates the scholarship late last week. No visit has been discussed as of yet, but Gates has an early opinion on the program. It's not a particularly strong one. But, hey, it's something.
"They're football program is pretty good," he said. "That's pretty much it. I just know my quarterback [Anu Solomon] is going there right now, too. So that's good."
It seems unlikely that Arizona represents the end of the offer parade, though. Arizona State is involved in Gates' recruitment. San Diego State is as well. And as he approached his senior year, new names are almost certain to join the race. Gates names Alabama as a dream school of his, though, the Crimson Tide have not made contact.
Gates will wait until his baseball season concludes to hit the road for unofficial visits, and destinations for such trips are yet to be determined. In fact, the only thing that's set in stone as of now is his recruiting checklist.
"I want a good line that puts players in the NFL," Gates said. "I want to get a good degree, too. If I don't make it to the NFL or the MLB, I have to have a future besides that. So the schools themselves are important."
Gates says he's uncertain which sport he would chose should he be given the chance to play both baseball and football after high school.
As a junior, Gates helped Las Vegas-based powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School to a 13-1 overall record and a Nevada, Division-I State Championship.