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Determination, drive earn Bates scholarship

Updated: July 27, 2009, 11:30 AM ET
By Jeff Miller | Special to ESPNRISE.com

The first Wednesday of February is Christmas on the football recruiting calendar. The gift is a college football scholarship, the occasion routinely shared with parents. It caps a senior season that will be remembered for a lifetime.

Little was routine when Brandon Bates -- a 6-foot-3, 235-pound defensive end -- walked into the library at A.C. Flora (Columbia, S.C.) to sign last February.

No senior season. No parents, at least none whom he remembers.

But ...

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