Kristen Finstad

Houston Bates To Transfer From Illinois

Created on Mar. 01, 2014 12:38 AM EST

Illinois will have to make do without linebacker/defensive end Houston Bates. The school announced in a press release Friday morning that Bates has decided to transfer closer to his home in Louisiana to finish out his collegiate career.

Bates started all 12 games last season as a junior and recorded 12 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks.

"Houston is a terrific and bright young man, who was a great teammate on our football team," Illini coach Tim Beckman said in a statement. "We certainly would have liked to have Houston remain on the team, but he indicated that he wanted to finish closer to home and his family. We wish him nothing but the best as he moves on in his career."

There is no word yet on which schools Bates is looking at near his home.

"I want to thank my teammates and coaches, along with everyone who supported me here at the University of Illinois and allowed me to graduate with a degree from such a prestigious institution," Bates said. "My degree from the U of I allows me to accomplish whatever I want in my life. I wish everyone in the Fighting Illini program nothing but the best. I'm taking this opportunity to finish my playing career closer to home so that my family and friends will be able to see me play."

Bates will be eligible to play immediately at whichever school he transfers to.

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