Jessie Bates III Drafted by Cincinnati
April 27, 2018

By Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeFB)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates III was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL Draft on Friday (April 27).

Bates was the 54th player selected overall, the 22nd pick of the second round.

The 6-1, 200-pound Bates, a native of Fort Wayne, Ind. (Snider) spent three seasons at Wake Forest after redshirting in 2015. He started 21 games over the 2016-17 seasons, collecting 179 career tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and six career interceptions.

As a redshirt freshman in 2016, Bates earned consensus Freshman All-America honors and was the ACC’s runner-up for Freshman Defensive Player of the Year. Bates had five interceptions, the second-most in the ACC, and was the only freshman nationally with two interception returns for touchdowns. He was the second-leading tackler in the ACC among freshmen and tied for the conference lead with 70 solo tackles.

Bates broke onto the national scene during a 33-28 win at Indiana in front of his family and dozens of friends. Bates had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and led the Deacons with eight tackles. He capped off the performance by recovering Indiana’s final onside kick with just seconds left in the game. Later in the season, Bates added a pick-six in a win over Virginia.

As a redshirt sophomore in 2017, Bates led the Deacon defense in tackles in contests against Florida State, Boston College and Appalachian State. He collected 79 tackles on the season and returned a punt 59 yards for a touchdown in Wake Forest’s Belk Bowl win over Texas A&M.

Bates’ 195 career interception return yards ranks third in Wake Forest history.

Bates is the first Wake Forest defensive back taken since 2015 when corner Kevin Johnson was a first round pick of the Houston Texans. He is the first Deacon selected by Cincinnati since cornerback Brandon Ghee went to the Bengals in the third round in 2010.