Football: Wood's Bates pledges to Penn State

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Archbishop Wood junior offensive lineman Ryan Bates has committed to play at Penn State. The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder was an Inquirer first-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection last season.

Archbishop Wood's Ryan Bates, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound junior offensive lineman, has committed to play at Penn State.

"I knew that this is the place I wanted to be," he said Sunday. "I didn't think there was any reason to wait or visit other schools. It's the best fit for me."

Bates, an Inquirer first-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection last season, committed Saturday evening at Penn State's Junior Day. He was visiting the school with his parents and sister.

"On my way up there, I didn't think I was going to commit," the 17-year-old said. "I thought I wanted to check out a few other schools.

"When I did get there, I got real excited, pumped up. I love the coaches, the school, everything about it."

At about 6:30 p.m. Saturday, after speaking by phone with Wood coach Steve Devlin, Bates told new Penn State coach James Franklin that he was committing to play for the Nittany Lions.

"He jumped into my arms, was real excited," said Bates, a four-star recruit according to

Of Franklin and Penn State offensive line coach/running game coordinator Herb Hand, Bates said, "They're legit coaches. They're the best of the best. Both have a lot of energy and high expectations. I'm just excited to be part of the family."

Bates also had scholarship offers from Auburn, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and South Carolina, among others. He took unofficial visits to South Carolina and Virginia last summer.

Last season, with Bates primarily positioned at left tackle, the Vikings averaged a whopping 39 points in posting a 12-3 record and claiming the program's second PIAA Class AAA state crown.

"He's great at finishing blocks, even if he has to go down the field to do it," Devlin said. "He's relentless, which is what you want from one of your linemen."

Bates, who last fall bench-pressed 285 pounds and squatted 475, was also offered scholarships by Duke, Illinois, Maryland, and Virginia.

He said his list of finalists, in addition to Penn State, likely would have included Auburn, Michigan, Michigan State, and South Carolina.

The Warrington resident said he is thinking of majoring in kinesiology at Penn State.

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