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Heading into Friday evening, it was no secret that four-star 2018 tight end Brenden Bates had an interesting choice ahead. The talented prospect from Cincinnati had a public list of finalists including Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, Duke and Kentucky and, when all was said and done, Bates made his pledge known to the world.

He’s heading to Lexington to play for Mark Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats.

This is a big-time addition for the Wildcats, as Bates ranks as one of the ten best tight ends in the country for 2018. The 6’5″, 230-pound Bates also ranks within the top 250 prospects nationally according to 247Sports and, frankly, that isn’t the type of prospect that Kentucky has been able to lure from outside the borders of its state in recent memory.

Given that Kentucky was seen, at least by many, as the leader to land Bates’ commitment, this isn’t a full-blown stunner but it remains exceedingly noteworthy. What the rest of Mark Stoops’ recruiting class looks like remains to be seen, but it seems apparent that Brenden Bates will be at the center of it all in Lexington while programs like Cincinnati and Louisville will be left searching for other answers at the tight end position in the future.

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