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April 1, 2013Running back Nathan Starks and tackle Nick Gates have plenty in common. They play for national football power Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. They each have a growing list of scholarship offers, and both will sign a national letter of intent next February. On Monday, both picked up an offer from Alabama.
Their reactions to the last bit, though, were different. Contrasting, even.
For Starks, a four-star prospect, it was the culmination of months of recruiting calls and interaction with the Crimson Tide coaching staff. He's been naming Alabama among his favorite schools for weeks. He saw the moment coming. He was prepared to play it cool.
Gates, on the other hand ?
"I was shocked. I didn't even believe it at first," Gates said 30 minutes after being informed of the news. "My coach just called me about 30 minutes ago to tell me they offered. I talked to them one time before. They said they wanted to come out and see me before they offered. I guess they changed their mind about that."
Gates plans to call Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban on Tuesday afternoon and will learn more about the offer and the program's plans for him at that time. The details don't seem that important, though. His opinion is already signed and sealed.
"Right now, they're my top school," Gates said.
The vibe surrounding Starks in the wake of the offer was one of accomplishment, not surprise. The No. 26 overall prospect in America sensed the move coming. He'd been talking about it for weeks. That didn't tarnish the moment, though.
"I was speechless," Starks said. "It's just so big to get an offer from a school like Alabama that does big things every year. I have been expecting it, but I didn't expect it today or anything.
"I think Coach Saban is coming out to our spring practice to see me and Nick, so that should be exciting."
Starks named a top four of Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and USC on Monday but declined to establish a pecking order within the group. He'd like to see the campus of each before starting down that road.
"I think Notre Dame and USC will be my first two unofficials," he said. "I definitely want to get out to Norman and Notre Dame, also. Whatever I get a chance to do, I'll do. I'll definitely go to all four for officials, though."
Gates and Starks were key cogs on a Bishop Gorman team that coasted to a state title and a 13-1 overall record last season.
Running behind a line anchored by Gates, Starks racked up 1,821 rushing yards as a junior and scored 31 total touchdowns. Bishop Gorman averaged 55.5 points per game last season and won the Nevada state title game by a score of 63-10.