Oct 19, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back James White (20) is tackled by IIllinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Houston Bates (55) in the game at Memorial Stadium. Wisconsin wins 56-32 over Illinois. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois defensive end Houston Bates to transfer closer to home

Illinois Fighting Illini defensive end Houston Bates announced Friday that he’ll be transferring to another football program closer to his home of Covington, La.

Bates, a senior, will be eligible to play next season because he graduates in May.

Illinois coach Tim Beckman said he wishes Bates nothing but the best:

“Houston is a terrific and bright young man who was a great teammate on our football team. We certainly would have liked to have Houston remain on the team, but he indicated that he wanted to finish closer to home and his family. We wish him nothing but the best as he moves on in his career.”

Bates finished last season ranked eighth on the Illini in tackles, second in tackles for loss, and second in sacks. He thanked his coaches and teammates in a statement:

“I want to thank my teammates and coaches, along everyone who supported me here at the University of Illinois and allowed me to graduate with a degree from such a prestigious institution. My degree from the U of I allows me to accomplish whatever I want in my life. I wish everyone in the Fighting Illini program nothing but the best. I’m taking this opportunity to finish my playing career closer to home so that my family and friends will be able to see me play.”

[Source: CBS]

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Tags: Illinois Fighting Illini