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Antonio Gates Reveals What Nick Saban Told Him As Recruit

Antonio Gates evades a tackle.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Antonio Gates #85 of the Los Angeles Chargers is tackled by Marqui Christian #41 of the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter of the game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Antonio Gates did not play college football before embarking on a Hall of Fame career in the NFL, but Nick Saban apparently knew when Gates was in high school that he was destined for gridiron greatness.

Gates officially announced his retirement from the NFL yesterday at age 38. Today, he appeared on "The Dan Patrick Show" and recounted a conversation he had with Saban over two decades ago.

Back then, Gates was a two-sport high school star. He originally enrolled at Michigan State with the intention of playing basketball and football, but when Saban, then the MSU football coach, balked at him playing both sports, Gates transferred.

It turns out, Saban had told Gates during his recruitment that he would be a future first-round pick in the NFL, even though the massive athlete preferred basketball.

As the story famously goes, Gates went to a junior college before playing college basketball at Kent State. Gates was a star for the Golden Flashes, but football eventually became his calling.

Signed by the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2003, Gates wound up playing 16 seasons for the franchise. In a few years, he'll be enshrined in Canton.

Nick Saban foresaw it all.