Friday, Jan. 24, 2014 | 2:15 p.m.
Nick Gates arrived at Bishop Gorman High as a freshman eager to become the next great baseball player in the Gaels' perennial state championship program.
Instead, he’ll leave in four months as one of the school’s top football players. Actually, he’s rated as one of the nation’s top offensive linemen.
Nick Gates committed today to the Nebraska football team, picking the Big 10 Conference school over Arizona and Texas A & M, Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said.
He was scheduled to visit UCLA this weekend, but on Tuesday canceled the trip. He also eliminated Oregon from consideration.
The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Gates is a four-star recruit by evaluating site Rivals.com on its scale of five stars. They rank him as the nation’s No. 24 offensive tackle prospect. During the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in early January in California, Gates emerged as one of the game’s top players, showing a quickness off the line of scrimmage and athleticism not common with big-bodied linemen.
Despite excelling on the gridiron and cracking Gorman’s offensive line rotation his sophomore year, Gates still thought his ticket to the next level would be baseball. Last season, he batted . 370 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs to help Gorman reach the state tournament.
But when Gates’ football recruiting stock started to increase last spring, including a scholarship offer from Alabama, he switched gears. When it was all said and done, he had more than 20 scholarship offers.
He’ll play baseball again in the spring — likely for the last time. Then, it’s on to Nebraska, a school he visited in early November and reportedly was immediately impressed with.
Verbal commitments are nonbinding until an athlete signs a national letter of intent. Signing day is Feb. 5.
He becomes the fifth Gorman player from the class of 2014 to commitment, joining safety Armand Perry (Arizona State), defensive tackle Zack Singer (Kent State), defensive back Dylan Weldon (Columbia) and offensive lineman Tryson Mook (Colorado Mesa). Alize Jones, a tight end for the class of 2015, is committed to UCLA.