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Carnell Tate Beginning To Connect With Notre Dame Head Coach Marcus Freeman

Elite wide receiver Carnell Tate has been impressed with new Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman

Greatness is a journey that begins with the impossible and turns into the unforgettable. For Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy star wideout Carnell Tate, the genesis of his path on a football field at a national tournament in Las Vegas during his 8th grade year.

“I dropped at least twenty balls in that tournament, and I was totally embarrassed," remember Tate. "I let my team down and after that I put in the work to make my hands great.”

It’s that chase for greatness that would lead Tate and his family to a decision that culminated with his departure from Chicago (Ill.) Marist and enrollment at IMG in 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic threatened the loss of the upcoming IHSA football season. 

The opportunity to continue his growth as a player couldn’t risk any stoppages and IMG offered the coaching, competition and resources to refine a skill set that was only the tip of the iceberg.

“When I got here, the guys didn’t really respect that I was from the Midwest," Tate said. "You guys don’t play football in the Midwest. “

That lack of respect continues to fuel the young receiver as he tirelessly models his game after NFL superstars like DaVante Adams and Michael Thomas. Tate, a five-star recruit and the No. 20 player in the country according to 247Sports, views himself as the most complete receiver in the 2023 class. 

Tate’s game is very much like an “old soul” of receiving; smooth, subtle with the precision of musicianship that gets you where you want to go without noise and a nod from onlookers in approval.

Tate spent the holidays back in Chicago, where he enjoyed unseasonably great weather while catching up with family, friends, and former teammates at Marist. He also got an opportunity to watch the Fiesta Bowl and a Notre Dame pass offense that got all its pieces involved in the passing game.

“My relationship with (offensive coordinator) Tommy Rees is really strong and I can already how things are going to be different from when (Brian Kelly) was there,” said Tate.

Marcus Freeman traveled down to IMG Academy this week and he made sure Tate got the message about how important he is to the first-year head coach.

“Whenever I would go up there, he was on the defensive side so we really didn’t communicate, so I would just say what’s up to him and keep it going," stated the 6-2, 185-pound receiver. "He’s a great guy! He’s about winning and changing the program at Notre Dame. Notre Dame is still Notre Dame, but he’s bringing swagger to it and them boys are coming different.”

The focus now goes to preparation for his senior season and the final stretch of his recruitment, which Tate views as wider open than it was previously during the fall. The process won’t be rushed, but when asked about what he’s looking for in the school that’s the best fit for him.

“The quarterback and offensive coordinator go hand in hand, so that’s definitely going to be something that I’m watching moving forward,” he explained.

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One might say that’s a good sign for the Fighting Irish as Rees continues to put his fingerprints on a dynamic offense with quarterback Tyler Buchner ready to make an impact on college football. It seems that the final destination for Carnell Tate is truly greatness, and the Fighting Irish would nothing more than that greatness to descend upon South Bend for years to come.

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