football

Coach: New UK commit having a great off-season

Kentucky landed one of the state of Ohio’s top class of 2018 prizes on Friday in Cincinnati Moeller four-star Brenden Bates. Moeller head coach John Rodenberg has coached four-star tight ends in each of the two previous classes, and gave his take on what the Wildcats are getting in Bates.

“He has had a great off-season going into his senior year,” Rodenberg said. “He’s pumped up to about 235 and I think his room for growth is huge. I think if there is one thing that separates him from some of my other tight ends is his hands. He has really good hands.”

No prep program in the country can boast the caliber of tight end talent Moeller High has produced in the last few classes. Brenden’s brother, Doug Bates, signed with Cincinnati in the 2015 class, Jake Hausmann was a Rivals100 prospect who signed with Ohio State in the 2016 class, and Matt Dotson was a four-star who signed with Michigan State just last month. Playing alongside that kind of talent has benefitted Bates learning curve.

“I think it’s two things: I think it’s watching the other tight ends and being coached the same way,” Rodenberg said. “And then, (we) have a special opportunity at Moeller that when he is going up against guys on defense, there’s a chance he is going against a Division 1 defensive end he has to block or a great linebacker he has to go against in 7-on-7.

“I totally believe in those types of learning curves, and I think it helps a lot.”

Moller High has sent players across the country, to schools as wide-ranging as Boston College, Miami, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Rodenberg is interested to see how Bates fits in with Kentucky’s system.

“I am still kind of learning about Kentucky,” Rodenberg said. “I’ve talked to Coach (Vince) Marrow and I know they love him, but as far as their style and where he fits in, I just haven’t seen enough of Kentucky football.

“I know the biggest thing Brenden needs to work on is being an attached tight end who can block, but I don’t even know how much Kentucky uses an attached tight end. His athleticism is really good and he has had a great off-season and gotten bigger.”

Having coached numerous players over the years who went on to the college level, Rodenberg is clear on his expectations for players who make commitments.

“I have a serious policy at Moeller that once you commit, you’re done,” he said. “I won’t allow another school to talk to him and won’t get him out of class or anything. So, I always want them to make sure.”

Ohio has been a staple of Mark Stoops’ recruiting game plan since he arrived in Lexington and that continues in the 2018 class. Bates is the second commitment from the state, joining Dayton-area defensive end Alex Reigelsperger.

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