Boise State vs Oklahoma State Football

Boise State tight end John Bates (85) runs for extra yardage following a reception against Oklahoma State on Sept. 15, 2018, in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The Idaho Press is counting down the 20 most important players for the Boise State football team in 2019. Next up on our list is No. 17, John Bates:

There weren’t many players hyped more than tight end John Bates entering last season after he showed flashes late during his redshirt freshman season in 2017.

It turns out the lofty expectations may have been too high, and Bates struggled to live up them.

The 6-foot-6 Bates had just 10 catches for 155 yards and one touchdown last season, well below what many people expected out of him.

For whatever reason Bates and Boise State’s tight end group were virtually non-factors last season after mainstay Jake Roh graduated.

Bates had just three catches for 34 yards in 2017, which looking back made it somewhat silly to expect big things the following year. But he came on late after barely playing most of the year and had all three catches in the regular-season finale and Mountain West championship game. With Roh graduating, Bates looked like the next candidate to pick up the slack at tight end.

Boise State’s receiving corps stepped up last season, which is one of the reasons Bates and the other tight ends weren’t involved much. Receivers A.J. Richardson and Sean Modster both had career years as seniors.

Bates had five catches in the first three games, including four at Oklahoma State. But he had just five more the rest of the season.

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It may not have hurt the Boise State offense much last season with a senior quarterback and 1,000-yard rusher at running back. But a new quarterback this fall likely will rely more on Bates and the tight ends for check-downs and short routes over the middle.

Bates still has plenty of potential. The Broncos would benefit if he started to tap into some of it.

Boise State’s 20 Most Important Players in 2019{/span}

No. 20: Chase Hatada

No. 19: DeAndre Pierce

No. 18: Octavius Evans

{span class=”print_trim”}No. 17: John Bates

B.J Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013. He is an Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll voter, and also contributes to KBOI-TV as a Boise State insider.

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