Tommy played in the Alcoa-Maryville rivalry four times in his career at Alcoa. As a senior, Yates led the Tornadoes to their second consecutive undefeated season and was part of the 29-game winning streak. Yates was named All- State, All East- Tennessee, All Conference and All County as a senior before being selected as an honorable mention All-American. He was honored with the Roy N. Lotspeich Memorial Trophy as the top player in East Tennessee. Yates signed a football scholarship to Furman University and his jersey number 53 was retired by Coach Bill Bailey.