THE ROAD TO THE DRAFT
Edmond Gates, WR, Abilene Christian
6-foot, 192 pounds
Draft projection: Third round
Lowdown: This small-school star’s path to the draft is a long story. Bottom line: He ran a time of 4.31 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine, and he’s probably going to be one of the top 10 receivers drafted. He had a tough upbringing. His father served 18 years in prison on a murder sentence. Gates was a big-time basketball star in high school and attended Tyler Junior College in Texas to play hoops. He was dismissed from that school after one year. He wound up going to Division II Abilene Christian and playing football. He was friends with Abilene receiver Johnny Knox, who was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2009. Despite his lack of football experience, he played as a true freshman and scored five TDs. By his senior season, he put up huge numbers – 66 catches for 1,182 yards and 13 TDs. He’s lanky. He will have a big adjustment to the NFL. But Knox made it. Gates turns 25 in June.
Abilene Christian has seen 19 players drafted to the NFL since 1967. The best was Eagles running back Wilbert Montgomery. Besides drafting Knox, the Bears also took defensive back Danieal Manning from Abilene in 2006.