Texans work out strong-legged Arkansas kicker Jake Bates

Former Tomball High soccer standout auditions for hometown team

General manager Nick Caserio of the Houston Texans walks across the field before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at NRG Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) (Bob Levey, 2022 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Arkansas kicker Jake Bates has an incredibly strong leg, booming kickoffs with such distance and force that he was named All-Southeastern Conference first-team as a kickoff specialist in his lone season for the Razorbacks.

The Texas State transfer earned an invitation from the Texans to their local prospect day after leading the SEC and ranking fourth nationally with a 64.47 yards per kickoff average and 64 touchbacks to rank fourth nationally.

After hitting a 67-yard field goal at the Arkansas Pro Day that would have easily been good from 70 yards and going 14 for 14 inside 55 yards, the Tomball graduate spent Thursday working out for Texans special teams coordinator Frank Ross at the AFC South franchise’s indoor facility.

“It was really cool to get in front of some of those coaches,” Bates said in a telephone interview. “Being around Houston, the Texans are the team you and your friends root for. Being a part of the organization for a day and seeing yourself there in their building, it was a really cool experience. I didn’t even know the local prospect day was a thing. It went really well.”

Bates led all Football Championship schools with a 85.3 touchback percentage with 64 of his 75 kickoffs resulting in a touchback. He also had an onside kick against Alabama that was recovered by the Razorbacks.

Because both Arkansas and Texas State had strong kickers, Bates was a kickoff specialist at both schools.

He averaged 62.76 yards per kickoff in his final season at Texas State and had 35 touchbacks on 53 kickoffs.

A former soccer player at Central Arkansas, Bates was an all-district and offensive Most Valuable Player for the Tomball soccer team.

“The big thing all the people I talked to asked was, ‘How did you not kick field goals?’” said Bates, who’s represented by Philadelphia-based veteran NFL agent Marty Magid of MRM Sports. “From what I’m hearing, my form and swing looks very natural and clean and with a leg so strong, I don’t need to swing as hard. I was behind really good kickers and they never did anything in a game to warrant a change. They didn’t deserve that. I’m trying to maximize my exposure.”

Bates worked out for the Texans along with Texas Tech kicker Trey Wolff, Oklahoma punter Michael Turk and Rice kicker Christian VanSickle.

“We met with coach Ross and talked about tendencies and what we can expect from the day and he watched us kick and ran the show,” Bates said. “I did well, maybe one of two kicks I wish I could have back. I put in a very good performance. The main thing was to show I have a big leg.”

Aaron Wilson is a Texans and NFL reporter for KPRC 2 and click2houston.com