Last fall, on Sept. 24, four-star offensive lineman Marcus Tate made the decision to end his recruitment and commit to Clemson.
Looking back on it, he couldn’t be happier that he did.
“I’m glad I did it when I did it,” Tate told The Clemson Insider recently. “I don’t have to worry about a bunch of coaches texting me anymore, like all the attention from everybody. My recruitment is now just focused on one school. So, in terms of being a recruit, it’s kind of made life easy because only one or two teams will text me, so I’m really not bombarded by text messages or people texting me every day like that anymore. All I have to focus on is Clemson, so I’m glad with that.”
Tate, a consensus top-150 national prospect from NSU University School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., chose Clemson over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Ohio State and Penn State among others.
There are a lot of reasons why Tate wanted to be a Tiger, and he felt it was the all-around right fit.
“It was just me,” he said, reflecting on his college choice. “Like, it fit who I was from being the family school that it is, to the fans to the atmosphere to just even the playbook. The playbook fit me. The coaches there are like mine, very down to earth. The offensive line coach is old school, like my coach, a very technical guy. It fit in the scheme of things. Even in the depth chart, the depth chart was convenient for me too, and the playbook was convenient for me. So, it was everything. It had my name written on it. I couldn’t miss the sign God was sending me to it.”
Fast forward to the present, and Tate has an even better relationship with Clemson’s coaching staff now than he did when he first committed. He stays in regular contact with offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell and his area recruiter, Brent Venables, and rarely do their conversations consist of just football talk.
“We just talk about life,” he said. “That’s what’s so cool, it’s not always about football, and they always ask me about myself and how the teachers are feeling about me. They really want to know the man I am. So, I always respect that. They hardly ever ask about just football stuff, so it’s how we’re building a relationship.”
While in quarantine, Tate is grinding hard as he tries to stay in shape. Without access to a weight room at home, or at his school right now, Tate has been doing bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups.
“What sucks is I don’t have any free weights or anything, so I just do a lot of bodyweights, which I don’t mind because actually if anything it’s been testing my self-motivation, see how much I really want it, and I think I’ve been doing a good job,” he said. “A dude that I train with usually to get me to work out, it involves bodyweights, and I just do it every day and I’ve been doing good so far. I’m not being lazy, I’m being productive, so I’m pretty proud of myself in that sense. I’m keeping up.”
Tate is 6-foot-5, 312 right now and hopes to drop a few pounds before his senior season rolls around.
“I’m trying to get under 310,” he said. “I’m trying to play under 310, just whatever under 310, my senior year. And then going into college, I want to be like 300 solid.”
Tate can play all over the offensive line but expects to primarily be a tackle for the Tigers. The coaches have told him if he comes in ready, he has a chance to see plenty of snaps early.
“I think what helps me is I train at both guard and tackle, both sides, so it helps me,” he said. “I’m a little bit more versatile. I play basketball, so I rely on my feet a lot. So, I would say I have pretty good feet. I don’t want to say I have amazing feet. But my focus is being able to mirror people and having good hand placement. Really just mirroring people, but I’m a good pass protector and everything and good steps when I’m run blocking. So, my feet really makes my game so much easier than it really is.”
Tate is ranked among the top 150 prospects in the 2021 class regardless of position by all the major recruiting services. He is tabbed as the No. 5 offensive guard and No. 117 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
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