Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates declares for NFL Draft, thankful for God's plan

Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates III announced today on social media that he will be declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft.

“I would like to thank God for the open doors of opportunity that He has provided, the support that uplifts me, and the talent that He favored me with,” Bates shared on twitter. “Because no matter how hard I work, without Him, none of this would be possible.”

As a redshirt freshman in 2016, Bates tied for the ACC lead with 70 solo tackles to go along with five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. This year, he missed two games and parts of two others due to a sprained MCL, but performed well when he was on the field In his final game of his college career, Jessie returned a punt 59 yards for a score in a 55-52 win over Texas A&M on December 29 in the Belk Bowl.

“This is a great opportunity for me, and one a lot of people don’t have,” Bates told the Fort Wayne News Sentinel“God has blessed me with this opportunity and I’m going to enjoy it before I head out to Florida for training. From there, I’m going to put my head down, stay off my phone and social media and chase after the dream.”

According to the News-Sentinel, Bates will train with AWP Sports locally in Indiana and also with ASPI (Applied Science & Performance Institute) in Tampa, Fla., as he works toward the NFL Combine in February and achieving his dream of being an NFL player and getting selected in the 2018 Draft.

Bates made sure he acknowledged his mother Theresa Ladd in announcing this decision.

“She’s amazing,” Bates told the News-Sentinel. “Anyone who has met my mother knows that I’m a momma’s boy, and if you met her you would understand why. She’s so unselfish and her work ethic is amazing, how she provides for our family and my other siblings. I hope to give back to her what I can for all she has done.”

The 2018 NFL Scouting Combine takes begins February 27, 2018 in Indianapolis and the 2018 NFL Draft kicks off Thursday April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas.