Bates was a three-star recruit and two-time first-team all-state pick from Fort Wayne Indiana. He redshirted his first year at Wake to add strength, and then made a big impact in 2016. Bates was a consensus Freshman All-American and the ACC media's runner-up conference defensive rookie of the year behind Clemson's Dexter Lawrence. He made 100 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and finished among national leaders with five interceptions -- returning two for touchdowns. Bates was an honorable mention All-ACC selection in 2017, posting 79 stops, six for loss, one interception and five pass breakups. He started 11 games for the season, missing two with an injury. Despite playing just two years with the Demon Deacons, Bates decided to declare for early entry in the 2018 NFL Draft.