Notre Dame Football/Baseball Star To Forego Remaining College Eligibility
By Collegebaseball360.com Editor Sean Stires
Notre Dame, IN After a record setting junior season on the college gridirion Golden Tate announced Monday that he plans to enter the NFL draft. Tate played football at Notre Dame for three seasons, while spending two seasons as an outfielder for the Fighting Irish baseball squad.
“This was a very tough decision for me,” Tate said. “I have made so many great friends at Notre Dame and the coaching I received in football and baseball has been the best. But after talking with my family and Coach Weis, I am going to pursue my dream and enter next year’s NFL draft.
“I can’t begin to describe how grateful I am to Coach Weis and Coach (Rob) Ianello and the rest of the football coaching staff. The same goes for Coach (Dave) Schrage and the baseball coaching staff. Both programs are on the rise and I’ll miss not being apart of all the success both the football and baseball teams will enjoy next year.
The 5-11, 195-pounder from Hendersonville, Tenn., rewrote the Irish receiving record book in 2009 as he tied or broke six school records. Tate set single-season records with 93 receptions for 1,496 yards and tied the school record with 15 receiving touchdowns.
Tate broke the career receiving yards record with 2,707 yards and set the school record for most 100-yard receiving games in a season (nine) and in a career (15). A finalist for the 2009 Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to college football’s top wide receiver, Tate ranked in the top eight nationally in nine receiving categories. He tied for first in total touchdowns (18), scoring (108) and scoring per game (9.0 points), ranked second in receiving touchdowns and was fourth in total receiving yards and receiving yards per game (124.67). Tate ranked sixth in total receptions, seventh receptions per game (7.75) and eighth in yards per catch (16.09). Tate added 186 rushing yards on 25 carries with two rushing TDs and also scored on an 87-yard punt return at Pittsburgh. He scored at least one TD in each of the final 11 games and no player had more 100-yard receiving games this year than Tate.
Tate batted just .269 in 18 games and 42 at bats as a freshman in 2008, but he hit .329 in 54 starts and 222 AB last spring for the Irish baseball team. Coming out of high school MLB scouts likened him for former MLB star Kenny Lofton. Tate’s 45 runs scored in 2009 were the third most by a Notre Dame player.
Here’s an assessment of Tate from nfldraftbible.com: “Tate has the quickness, hands, and determination to be one of the best wide receivers to enter the draft over the past five years. The 5’11” wide out runs several different routes and has an explosive burst, which allows him to reach top speed very early in his pattern and blow by his defender. Tate runs precise timing routes, and is particularly dangerous when he stops on a dime and comes back to the ball, which always seems to throw his cover man off balance. He’s equally as effective on slant plays where he lines up in the slot and fearlessly runs through traffic. The rising star is the type of player coaches will want to isolate in man-to-man coverage on out patterns, where his ability to slip past the first man should lead to big plays. On deep throws, Tate exhibits great focus on over-the-shoulder catches and adjusts his body to the pass at full speed. He’ll often come up with ball when surrounded by multiple defensive backs due to the fact that he catches the ball in his hands and at its highest point. Remarkably, the junior will typically maintain a tight grip on the pigskin on plays where he’s forced to go airborne. In zone coverage, Tate masterfully finds holes in the secondary and immediately communicates with his quarterback to let him know that he’s open. While it’s hard to overthrow the electrifying playmaker, he will sometimes drop balls that hit him right in his hands. He’s also a bit too reckless at times with the way he throws his body around subjecting himself to serious injury. NFL fans will love his work ethic and physical style of play.”
(The ND sports information staff contributed information for this report)