Bates is ranked 58th overall in the Rivals100 and 88th overall in the ESPN150. (Photo by The St. Augustine Record)

Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin spent his Tuesday afternoon in Ponte Verda evaluating linebacker Dillon Bates.

His presence at practice gave the consensus four-star recruit some extra motivation.

“I definitely wanted to perform well in front of him,” Bates said. “It was good to see him there and speak with him afterward. He told me about Florida’s scheme and how what they run is similar to what my high school does. So it was just good to talk to him about football and fill him in on where I’m at with recruiting.”

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, who is ranked the nation’s No. 3 outside linebacker by ESPN and Rivals, visited Gainesville earlier this spring for UF’s first practice in full pads. Bates released his Top 5 last month and the Gators came in at No. 2 behind Tennessee.

Although the Volunteers currently lead, two other schools including Florida have a chance to change that.

“Tennessee is leading for me right now in my recruitment because of the relationships I’ve made with the coaches there,” Bates said. “But I’m definitely open with Florida and mostly Alabama. Those are two schools that I’m taking a harder look in addition to Tennessee. But there’s still a good possibility I go to Florida or Alabama. I just need to take more visits, be around the players and see different pros and cons of the schools.”

Bates hopes to see all three schools again after he wraps up spring football. He plans to announce his decision this summer at The Opening, an annual invite-only combine that runs from June 30 to July 3 at the Nike World Headquarters in Oregon.

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