Menomonie High School's all-time sack leader and two-time WFCA first team all-state outside linebacker James Gates has given a verbal commitment to attend North Dakota State University on a full scholarship. After receiving multiple scholarship offers from other schools, and a preferred walk-on invitation by the Wisconsin Badgers, Gates decided on the two-time division one FCS defending national champions.
Gates who broke his ankle at the end of the Mustangs season last fall and was unable to play in the playoffs says he's excited about the opportunity to play at the division one level. Gates recorded thirty sacks and scored three defensive touchdowns in his two year career blitzing off the edge as an outside linebacker and was an outstanding pass-catching tight end. James says that he admires the way Packers linebacker Clay Matthews plays and believes his style is similar.
"It's just that relentless, coming off the edge, hitting the first you see, reading and having to react so fast out there. Yet it's a position for me, more for my quickness, not really my size which is nice because when you get into the D1 level, they get a lot bigger and faster, says Gates. "That was a big part of my decision-making, is going to place where I can I win and get some attention. You know my last year here, not being able to play in the playoffs, go for that state championship, now I can go for a national championship so it's a whole other step so it's what I'll be striving to do the rest of my life."