Tennessee football was thought to have finished second in Cai Bates’ recruitment when the cornerback chose LSU. On Monday, he backed off of his commitment to the Tigers.
The news was reported by On3’s Hayes Fawcett.
Bates ranks as a four-star cornerback in the 2024 class. He also is the No. 98 prospect nationally and the No. 9 cornerback. Out of Edgewater High School in Orlando, Florida, Bates is the No. 15 prospect from Florida.
Bates frequented Tennessee ahead of his commitment. He officially visited LSU commitment, but he did take officials to Florida State and Alabama. He also took an official visit to Tennessee on June 16. Bates was recently at Florida State for its victory over Miami.
Contact between Tennessee and Bates persisted even during his commitment to LSU.
Andrew Ivins of 247Sports scouted Bates.
“A pass catcher turned pass defender with plenty of developmental upside given length and tentacle-like arms,” Ivins writes. “Started prep career off playing wide receiver before being thrust into action at cornerback midway through junior season. Found success right away in coverage, totaling four interceptions and seven pass break ups in just a handful of games. Still figuring things out from a technical standpoint, but has no issues tracking the football and putting himself in position to make a play at the catch point. Lack of verified speed markers is not ideal in an era where perimeter defenders are constantly challenged vertically, but does have a basketball background and natural bounce shows up on tape.
“Must keep evolving and take to coaching, but should be viewed as a potential multi-year starter at the Power Five level. Will need to get better as an open-field tackler if he’s going to make a real difference in run support or even get a look at safety, but has some of what’s required to thrive in a defensive scheme that wants to press often. NFL scouts will likely be drawn to his size one day.”