Friday, December 15, 2006

Headline Writers Rejoice: Golden Tate to ND | by Pat

Following on the heels of Ian Williams' public commitment to the Irish, all-around star Golden Tate announced that he will join Williams and the rest of the Class of 2007 at Notre Dame. And really, as a senior at Pope John Paul II (school colors: blue and gold) and with a first name of Golden, where else could he go?

The 14th public member of the 2007 class hails from Tennessee but is looking forward to the next four years at Notre Dame.

“To be honest I just felt right at home after I was there for two days and I thought this is where I need to be,” said Tate. “I told my mom if you can give me a good reason not to go here (Notre Dame) then I won’t, but she pretty much felt the same way I did so this is where we decided I needed to go.”
The 5-11, 175 pound Tate plays in a private school league that apparently is pretty light on the competition, so it should be a sizable jump to Division 1. But light competition or not, Tate has been extremely productive. As a senior he averaged over 10 yards a carry and 18 yards a catch and racked up just under 2,000 total yards. On defense he had 3 interceptions to go with the 10 he recorded as a sophomore and junior. And to top it all off, he was recently named Tennessee's Division II Mr. Football for the second straight year, the Middle Tennessee Player of the Year, and the 26th annual Charles Greenhill State Player of the Year, which he won over fellow Irish recruits Harrison Smith and Chris Donald, the East and West Tennessee Players of the Year respectively.

Tate selected ND over offers from Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt. The in-state Volunteers reportedly were interested early, but when Tate didn't respond with any interest Fulmer and Co. moved on.

The recruiting sites are all complimentary of Tate but there is some difference of opinion on him. Although the rankings are fluid, Tate is currently slotted as a 4-star guy and the 12th best "athlete" in his class. He's a member of the Top 250 on Rivals, while over on he's a 4-star guy and the 32nd WR in the class. ESPN's Scouts, Inc. are the most impressed; they have him as the #3 WR and the #18 player overall.

Tate also has been selected to play in the brand spanking new All-American Offense-Defense Bowl. Yep, has decided to create a new major high school all-star bowl to compete with the U.S. Army All-American game in January. That means twice the number of kids pulling hats out of bags amid much forced fanfare. Joining Tate in the new bowl game will be ND recruit Andrew Nuss. Meanwhile, over at the more established U.S. Army game, ND commits Jimmy Clausen, Gary Gray, Duval Kamara, Greg Little, Aaron Nagel, and Justin Trattou will be participating. Mike Ragone and Armando Allen were also named to the team but won't be participating.

Getting back to Golden, the speedster is also a solid baseball player who hopes to follow in Jeff Samardzija and Evan Sharpley's footsteps by playing both football and baseball at ND. The Irish hardballers are currently looking at him to play centerfield, and the fact that he spent the summer playing baseball rather than attending the football combines is likely one of the reasons for the mixed reviews from the recruiting sites.

What's really interesting about Tate regarding football is that no one, save perhaps the coaching staff, really knows at what position Tate will end up. He plays primarily running back in high school but as of now is sounding like his first shot at ND will be at wide receiver. Then again, someone with his size and speed is an ideal cornerback candidate. About the only prediction that I'm comfortable making now -- aside from four years of "Another 'Golden' Moment" headlines -- is that he'll likely see early action fielding kickoffs, something he excelled at in high school.