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STATE CHAMPS! SCOUT TEAM: Michigan football recruiting notebook — Antonio Gates Jr. goes Big Ten, taps MSU for family redo

By: SCOTT M. BURNSTEIN, July 28, 2021, 2:48 pm

Gates to the Spartans, the sequel. Think Godfather II, not Space Jam 2.

Dearborn Fordson senior wide receiver Antonio Gates Jr. will try again in East Lansing in the name of his father, surefire future Hall of Fame NFL tight end, Antonio Gates Sr. 

Junior is about to put things right for his pops in the land of Sparta.

The four-star Gates, Jr. (6-2, 185) committed to Michigan State this week, choosing the Spartans over Penn State, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee. He is MSU head coach Mel Tucker’s first four-star recruit for his Class of ’22 and the 16th overall commit.

Last fall, he caught 30 passes for 750 yards and 10 touchdowns for a 5-2 Fordson squad in the COVID-19-shortened 2020-21 campaign.

“Like his dad, he’s got a big body, naturally soft hands and knows how to use his physicality to his advantage,” 24/7 Midwest recruiting coordinator Allen Trieu said. “He has a chance to play on Sundays if he keeps polishing his skills.”

The elder Gates retired from the NFL last year. He originally signed with Michigan State for football and basketball out of Detroit Central High School in 1998. After only a year as a redshirt in East Lansing, he transferred to Eastern Michigan and then Kent State where he just played hoops before catching on with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted rookie free agent and becoming a pro football superstar. 

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Young, talented and headed to the Town 

Chip’s “Tricky Tre” needs a tuxedo fitting immediately.

Chippewa Valley senior wide receiver Cephus “Tre” Harris, who is one of the most underrated playmakers at his position in Metro Detroit, committed to Youngstown State last week. The Penguins just scored a major sleeper stud.

Harris (5-9, 175) is a versatile slot able to split wide and run jet sweeps to perfection. He is fast and instinctive, prone to make plays look easy. YSU is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, part of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision.

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Ready For Show-Me State

The Belleville blue chip factory is giving out discounts. SEC caliber, SEM bound.

Belleville senior 3-star offensive lineman Ja’Kobe Watkins committed to Southeastern Missouri over last weekend. Watkins (6-3, 295) is a true value grab for SE Missouri, a Division I Football Championship Subdivision school competing out of the Ohio Valley Conference. 

Kentucky, Akron, Marshall, Southern Mississippi and a slew of HBCUs were hot in pursuit of his services. Last season, Watkins recorded 11 pancake blocks.