It seems like forever ago now, but going back to last August, it appeared five-star Florida wideout Carnell Tate was destined to be a Buckeye.
Playing a football game in Ohio for the first time in his life at the Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Tate hauled in a touchdown pass for IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida) against the now-infamous Bishop Sycamore. As an ode to the fans in attendance, Tate lifted his arms and gave an O-H sign to the crowd. Buckeye fans that saw that clip practically fell in love with Tate right there and then. So too did Ryan Day.
“He really wants me to be a Buckeye,” Tate told Eleven Warriors of his conversation with Day a few days before his game.
Tate later set a commitment date in early October, with most of the recruiting industry thinking he’d be picking the Buckeyes. But then he decided to push back his decision and let the process play out. And oh, did it ever.
A long recruitment process full of twists, turns, and everything in between followed for many months. But in the end, Ohio State landed the receiver in the 2023 class it spent the most time recruiting by far when he announced his verbal commitment to the Buckeyes on Monday.
The Buckeyes fended off a late push from Tennessee to land Tate and also won out against Notre Dame, which finished as a top-three school for the IMG Academy standout. Tate picked his relationship with wide receivers coach Brian Hartline and the successful track record of wide receiver development at Ohio State over the opportunity to likely play early at Tennessee and a rumored heavy NIL incentive from the school’s collective agency, Spyre Sports.
Tate’s commitment is another massive win for Hartline and OSU, which continues to clean up wide receiver recruiting over the past five recruiting cycles.
On The Field
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound wide receiver is a matchup nightmare for cornerbacks lining up on the outside. He possesses the agility and awareness to line up in the slot, too. He has lined up as both an outside and inside wide receiver in high school. Considering his size and his raw ability, though, it's more likely he primarily lines up as an outside wide receiver in college.
Neither zone nor press coverage seems to bother Tate, who can best be described as a playmaker. Tate has always been at his best going up to make plays on a ball at the highest point, while he can also make a tightrope sideline catch look all too easy.
Tate has the frame to add 10 to 15 pounds to his body, which will help him fight off press coverage from lengthier cornerbacks at the collegiate level. The newest OSU commit also has experience returning kickoffs and punts and could contribute on special teams right away.
In The Class
Tate’s addition to OSU’s 2023 cycle gives the Buckeyes their 12th top-100 wide receiver in the past five recruiting cycles and their fifth top-50 wideout within that timeframe.
He becomes the highest-rated player, sitting at 28th nationally in 247Sports’ composite rankings, among Ohio State’s current 11-man class of 2023 commits.
With Tate’s commitment, the Buckeyes have now as many commits from Florida in the 2023 class as they do from Ohio (five each). He joins Mark Fletcher, Bryson Rodgers, Dijon Johnson and Cedrick Hawkins as Sunshine State products in Ohio State’s recruiting class of 2023.
Before Tate gave his verbal to Ohio State, the Buckeyes had the eighth-ranked recruiting class nationally. The commitment of Tate boosted them to the No. 2-ranked class this cycle.
Tate is Ohio State’s second wide receiver commit of the cycle, joining Rodgers. He’s not going to be the last, either.
Ohio State is still viewed as the frontrunner in the recruiting industry to land two more top-50 wide receivers, five-star Brandon Inniss and four-star Noah Rogers, both of whom could end their recruitments sooner rather than later.
Normally, we’d list out other available targets, but if the Buckeyes can finish the class with Tate, Rodgers, Inniss and Rogers, that will be the class Hartline finishes the year with – and arguably be his most impressive class yet from a pure talent perspective.