WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest redshirt sophomore safety Jessie Bates III has announced his intention to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
Bates, a 6-2, 195-pound safety was a consensus Freshman All-American and a second team All-ACC selection in 2016 when he recorded 100 tackles and had five interceptions with two interception returns for touchdowns. He tied for the Atlantic Coast Conference lead in solo tackles with 70.
As a redshirt sophomore in 2017, Bates played in 11 games and recorded 79 tackles while earning honorable mention All-ACC honors. He had one interception return for 37 yards vs. Boston College. In the Belk Bowl win over Texas A&M, Bates recorded seven tackles while adding a 59-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Bates concludes his career with 179 tackles, six interceptions, 195 interception return yards and 26 punt returns for a 9.0 average.
“We are excited and fully supportive of Jessie as he makes the next step in his football career,” said head coach Dave Clawson. “We appreciate all that he did for Wake Forest football and wish him success at the next level.”
Bates becomes the third Wake Forest player to declare for the draft prior to the expiration of their eligibility. LB Jon Abbate declared for the draft following his junior season in 2006 and WR Chris Givens declared following his junior season in 2011. Givens was a fourth round pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2012. Abbate signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent.
Wake Forest finished the 2017 season with an 8-5 overall record and wins in three of its last four games including a 55-52 win over Texas A&M on Dec. 29 in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte.