There are a lot of reasons Dabo Swinney hired Todd Bates to replace Marion Hobby as Clemson’s new defensive line coach after Hobby left for a coaching gig in the NFL.
Swinney got to watch Bates up close as he coached at a few of Swinney’s camps over the years, and he liked what he saw. Swinney likes the energy he brings at the young age of 33 and his capacity to coach the entire D-line. Swinney likes his track record during previous coaching stints at Jacksonville State, East Mississippi Junior College and Idaho State, and that he was a permanent co-captain as a player at Alabama.
It’s also evident that Swinney likes Bates’ ability as a recruiter.
“He’s a great fit for our staff. I love his age. He’s great as a recruiter,” Swinney said of Bates before Clemson’s first spring practice on Wednesday. “He can coach the whole front, and he’s had excellent performance in where he’s been.”
There is a little overlap in the territories Bates will recruit and where he recruited in his past jobs, most notably some areas of Alabama.
Recruiting is an aspect of coaching that Bates embraces, so he’s eager to get out and start building relationships on the recruiting trail.
“I’m going to have some of Alabama — central part and the eastern — and I’m going to have part of South Carolina,” Bates said. “I’m going to have a part of Georgia and south Georgia. I’m going to have Orlando, Florida, some of those areas, and I look forward to it.”
When it comes to evaluating prospects, Bates is looking for what the rest of Clemson’s coaches look for — great players with the “it” factor that the staff speaks often about, and people of great character who fit Clemson’s culture.
When it comes to himself personally, Bates has a simple philosophy as a recruiter.
“Just be you, man,” he said. “It’s the same as in your meeting room. You have to be you. Kids these days see right through somebody who’s trying to be somebody else.”
Bates was raised by a loving family, and it made him who is he today. So, he just tries to stay true to himself as he recruits players to join the Clemson family.
“You don’t have to be over the top. Your family showed you how to show love, and that’s what you have to do because when they come to your team, that’s what they are — family,” Bates said. “So, you don’t step outside of that, and I try to be true to Clemson and true to who I am and who I was raised to be.”