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Illini losing starting LB Houston Bates to transfer

Houston Bates Getty Images

One of the constants on Illinois’ defense in 2013 can’t be counted on to do the same in 2014.

The Illini announced in a press release Friday morning that linebacker/defensive end Houston Bates has decided to transfer from the football program.  The release stated that Bates wants to move closer to his home in Louisiana to finish out his collegiate playing career.

“Houston is a terrific and bright young man, who was a great teammate on our football team,” said head coach Tim Beckman in a statement. “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.”

After starting two games in both 2011 and 2012, Bates started all 12 games as a junior last season.  He finished second on the team with 12 tackles for loss, a total that was good for ninth in the Big Ten.  His 3.5 sacks were second on the team as well.

Bates was a three-star recruit coming out of high school in Covington, La., in 2011.

“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,” Bates said. “My degree from the UofI 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.”

Because he has graduated, Bates will be eligible to play at the FBS level in 2013.  There’s no word on what specific institutions near his home would be of interest.

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