Clemson freshman offensive lineman Marcus Tate, who signed with the program in December and enrolled early at the school in January, has had the chance to meet Christian Wilkins and hit it off right away with the former Clemson star defensive lineman.
Tate, who hails from Sunrise, Fla., has gotten to know Wilkins, the former three-time Tiger All-American who just finished his second season in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins in 2020 after being selected in the first round (13th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft.
“It was pretty cool,” Tate said during a Clemson Football Instagram video of meeting Wilkins. “We kind of connected real quick.”
Tate and Wilkins, who have trained at the same facility in Florida, share similar personalities as personable individuals – one of the reasons they get along so well.
“We’re both outgoing people,” Tate said. “I think one thing that we’ve got really in common is that we love people, so talking to people has always been easy.”
Although Tate (listed at 6-foot-5, 290 pounds) is taller and nearly as big as Wilkins already, Tate looks at the 6-foot-4, 315-pound Wilkins like an older brother.
“He kind of like took that big brother role,” Tate said, “even for the first time that I met him.”
Tate, a former four-star prospect, talks football with Wilkins from time to time and gleans advice from Wilkins, who has totaled a combined 92 tackles, 3.5 sacks, seven passes defensed and one interception in his two years in the NFL.
“I got his number,” Tate said. “He always offered any help that I needed about like when I’m pass setting and what he would do against me. So, he’s been actually a big help to me, and it was actually a blessing to meet him because obviously he went here (to Clemson) but he’s in the NFL. So, that’s cool.”
A top-150 national prospect in the 2021 class per multiple recruiting services, Tate committed to Clemson on Sept. 24, 2019, choosing the Tigers over Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami, LSU, Ohio State and Oregon among other schools on his list of 20-plus offers.
Tate played his first three high school seasons at NSU University School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. That school cancelled its 2020 season due to COVID-19, so Tate played for Tru Prep Academy (Miami Gardens, Fla.) in 2020, when he was a member of the school’s state championship team.