- NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Recipient ($5,000)
- May, 2000 Graduate in Fisheries and Wildlife
- 1999 Co-Captain
- Three-Time First-Team Academic All-Big 12 (1997-99)
- Two-Time GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America Nominee (1998-99)
- 1999 Second-Team GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-District VII
- Four-Time Big 12 Commissioner's Fall Academic Honor Roll (1996-99)
Debates played in every game except two (Iowa State and Kansas State) when he was out with a left knee strain suffered in the Texas game. He made a 16-yard reception in the season opener vs. Louisiana Tech, but did not have another rest of the season. An excellent blocker, DeBates helped lead the team to a No. 6 national ranking in rushing and was greatly missed when sitting out with an injury. He was also a member of the Husker kickoff return team and the PAT and field goal units. DeBates was a nominee for academic All-America honors and earned academic All-Big 12 honors for the second consecutive season. He played in the Holiday Bowl, but did not have any receptions.
DeBates played in every game as the No. 4 tight end behind Tim Carpenter, Vershan Jackson and Sheldon Jackson. He caught his first and only pass of the season in Nebraska's last game against Texas A&M, a seven-yard grab that put NU on the 1-yard line. The Huskers scored on the next play to go ahead 30-3. DeBates was also a member of the Husker kickoff return team. DeBates played in the 1998 FedEx Orange Bowl vs. Tennessee, but did not have any receptions.
DeBates lettered as a freshman, playing in six games. He did not have any receptions.
A scholorship athlete, DeBates redshirted his first year.
When DeBates signed a letter of intent, he commited to returning to his home state--Nebraska. DeBates lived in Stewartville, Minn., since 1979, but before that, DeBates lived with his family in O'Neil, Neb., where his father, Earl DeBates, was the head football coach. T.J. played running back, fullback, inside and outside linebacker and tight end for his father at Stewartville. As a senior, he rushed for 714 yards and totaled 2,716 yards and 44 touchdowns in his career. In addition, DeBates also caught 10 passes for 114 yards and two TDs his final year. He set school records for TDs in a season (18) and career (40) and for points scored in a season (124) and career (282). The four-year letterwinner earned all-state honors from the AP, the Minneapolis Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press as a linebacker. He recorded 119 tackles in 1994 with a throw of 56-10. He also started for his basketball team and was a four-year letterman. A standout in the classroom as well, DeBates was a National Honor Society member. He visited Minnesota and Iowa and canceled a trip to Northwestern before he committed on his visit to Nebraska.
The son of Earl and Marvis DeBates, T.J. was born in O'Neil, Neb., on May 3, 1977. Majoring in fisheries and wildlife, DeBates posted a 3.709 cumulative grade-point average and was one of five Husker starters, his senior year, with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. At the 1997 University of Nebraska Honors Convocation, DeBates received a "High Scholar" award for posting a cumulative grade point average of 3.6 or higher. DeBates has been a volunteer speaker in the Lincoln Public Schools and assisted with American Education Week.
DeBates's Career Statistics
Year G/S No. Yds. Y/R Y/G Long TDs 1995 Redshirted 1996 6/0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 1997 12/0 1 7 7 0.6 7 vs. Texas A&M 0 1998 10/8 1 16 16 1.6 16 vs. La Tech 0 1999 12/8 1 18 18 1.5 18 vs. Iowa 0
18 vs. Iowa
7 vs. Texas A&M
16 vs. La Tech
18 vs. Iowa