Antonio Gates Jr., Son of Chargers Legend, Lists Tennessee in Top-Five

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    Antonio Gates Jr Tennessee

    (Photo via @AntonioGatesJr1 on Twitter)

    Antonio Gates Jr., son of San Diego Chargers legend Antonio Gates and four-star wide receiver in the 2022 class, is one step closer to his commitment as the Tennessee target released his top-five on Thursday.

    The Dearborn, MI native released his top-five schools on Thursday evening. His list included Michigan State, Florida, Penn State, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

    Gates is a physically gifted wide receiver who uses his body to out-power his opponent. And, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound rising-senior has collected offers from 23 Division-1 schools.

    In fact, six SEC schools extended an offer to Gates Jr. That would be Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt.

    At Fordson high school, Gates has played both wide receiver and defensive back. Although he is listed officially as a receiver, his versatility only gives him more diversity on the field.

    As a recruit, Gates is graded at 0.8994. Currently, that would make him the second-highest recruit in the Tennessee class. Only a hair in front of him would be four-star quarterback Tayven Jackson, who is graded at 0.8996.

    The four-star son of NFL legend Antonio Gates is the eighth-ranked player in the state of Michigan, according to 247Sports Composite. He is also ranked as the No. 45 wide receiver in the class.

    Gates has only taken one visit during his recruitment. He visited Michigan State on June 4.

    Although, even with Tennessee as a finalist, coach Josh Heupel and wide receivers coach Kodi Burns will have to move quickly. Tennessee does not hold a crystal ball prediction for Antonio Gates Jr., and all current signs point to Michigan State.

    The Vols and coach Heupel do have one thing to sell though, and that is the offense. Current Tennessee wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. spoke at SEC Media Days and said it was a “dream come true” to play in Heupel’s system.

    It is too soon to tell whether that will be enough to persuade Antonio Gates Jr. to Tennessee. But with Tennessee landing in the four-star’s top-five, the Vols still have a fighting chance.

    Antonio Gates, the NFL player, was a terrific multi-sport athlete during his career. He first had a collegiate basketball career at Kent State. Then, Gates went on to become one of the NFL’s all-time greatest tight ends.

    Gates is an eight-time Pro Bowler and was selected to the NFL 2000’s All-Decade team. He is also the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions among tight ends.

    The Gates family would certainly be a welcome addition to Tennessee.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.