• John Macon Gillespie

Gates Going Iron Man At Fortius

The group of juniors from Houston high that are planning to attend the Fortius Project is quite impressive. Even more impressive, the group continues to grow by the day.

One of the most recent sign ups is defensive back Jalon Gates. He followed the lead of teammate Johnta Walker, who stated Gates was going to be one of his more impressive teammates to attend.

As a defensive back last season he totaled 51 tackles, 11 pass deflections, seven tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. An impressive year for a player who feels doubted by most of his opponents.

“People just thought because of my size I was just a pushover,” Gates told SES Mississippi. “I really wanted it this year. I wanted to improve in a lot of areas from my sophomore year.”

After facing him, he felt that his opponents were usually singing a different tune about him, though.

“I think they say that to be my size I’m real competitive and that I don’t let a lot of things get away on my side. I believe they think twice about trying to pick on me on Friday nights,” Gates explained.

On April 30th at ICC, Gates plans to show people at Fortius exactly what he showed his opponents on the field last season. He is looking forwarding to the experience.

“I’m excited to meet some of the big players from all around the state and to show off my talent,” He said. “I’m going to give y’all one of the best shows. I promise I’m going to try my best.”

Like his teammate Walker, he will also be working at an additional position when he works out at the Fortius. In fact, they are very similar.

“See, I love to play defensive back and I’m a running back also,” Gates said. “So I really want to show off my skills because at my height I don’t think I’ll be able to play defensive back in college.”

So what kind of player is he as a running back and where is trying to improve there?

“I got the speed for it, I’ve got a couple moves and my footwork is pretty decent, but mostly I’m a speed back,” He explained. “I want to improve on a lot, like ready holes when running up the middle and my catching.”

Looking ahead to next season, Gates is not short on lofty goals set for himself. He knows what he has to do to reach them, as well.

“I have to work hard at this,” He said. “I have high goals for myself. I want to be one of the best players mentioned next throughout next year. I’m setting a goal to get five interceptions.”

**Photo by Stacey Parker.

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