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Giants officially name Nick Gates starting center

That’s been the team’s worst-kept secret for weeks

Nick Gates at center during training camp.
Matthew Swensen [Giants.com]

Nick Gates is the starting center for the New York Giants. Head coach Joe Judge on Saturday finally admitted what has seemed apparent since early in training camp — Gates has won the competition for that job with Spencer Pulley.

“We’re going to start Nick Gates at center. He’s done a good job for us through camp. Spencer’s (Pulley) done a tremendous job competing. We’re very happy with both of those guys on the roster,” Judge said. “We’re very fortunate to have both guys working at the center position. Nick brings a lot of flexibility to other positions, but that’s the direction we’re going to go for right now.”

Gates, a former undrafted free agent out of Nebraska is a third-year player who started three games at right guard or tackle last season. He has never played center at any level.

Gates’ debut at center will come Monday night when the Giants host the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Everyone on that front seven is really good. All those guys. Watt, those edge guys are really good. The linebackers are really good,” Gates said earlier in the week. “They’re just all good. It’s a really good front. Watt, he’s really good at getting after the QB and trying to get the ball out.”

During training camp, offensive line coach Marc Colombo said the 24-year-old Gates was “the alpha male that you want at the position at the position ... he owns it.”

Will Gates be up to the task of orchestrating the Giants’ blocking against a talented Pittsburgh defense that will show him a variety of looks?

The Giants are counting on it.