It feels like just yesterday that all-world tight end Antonio Gates was catching touchdowns and sealing his NFL legacy.
Fans of Gates, the San Diego and Los Angeles Chargers legend, may not need to wait long to see a touchdown-grabbing player with his name on the field. Gates’ son, Antonio Jr., is a standout Class of 2022 wide receiver prospect in Michigan.
Antonio Gates is a Chargers legend
The one knock against Antonio Gates is that he played at the wrong time to be a tight end.
Although Gates made eight Pro Bowls and earned eight first-team All-Pro nods, he often went under shadowed on the national stage. Gates began his career in 2003 while Tony Gonzalez, the Chiefs’ star tight end, was still in his prime.
As Gonzalez finished his reign as the NFL’s top tight end, Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham came in and made their cases. Now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gronkowski is seemingly a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Gates had an excellent career in his own right, snagging 955 catches for 11,841 yards and 116 touchdowns from 2003-18. In 12 career playoff games, Gates added 51 receptions, 540 yards, and two touchdowns.
Gates is one of the greatest tight ends ever
Antonio Gates finished his career with some of the greatest numbers by a tight end in NFL history.
Gates is one of only three tight ends, only behind Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten, with over 10,000 career receiving yards. He is third in receptions and his 116 touchdowns are the most by a tight end, just ahead of the 111 that Gonzalez scored.
Interestingly, the NFL left Gates off its NFL All-Time Team last year. In addition to Gonzalez, the league also included Mike Ditka, Rob Gronkowski, John Mackey, and Kellen Winslow.
Antonio Gates is eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2024. Considering his numbers and long-term success, he should be in the Hall of Fame before the 2020s end.
Antonio Gates Jr. is a top wide receiver prospect
If it doesn’t happen when he is first eligible, Antonio Gates’ possible Hall of Fame enshrinement could coincide with his son’s NFL debut.
Antonio Gates Jr. is a wide receiver prospect in Dearborn, Mich. The younger Gates, who stands 6 feet 3 inches and weighs 185 pounds, already has offers from numerous Power 5 programs, including Michigan State, Ole Miss, and Penn State.
247 Sports considers Gates the 38th-best receiving prospect in the Class of 2022 and Michigan’s eighth-best player regardless of position. The outlet also projects Gates will commit to, and then sign, with Michigan State.
A 247 Sports scouting report compared Gates to former Vikings first-round pick Laquon Treadwell.
Gates is also a defensive back capable of playing cornerback and safety.