Notre Dame Making An Early Impact With Standout 2023 Wide Receiver

Notre Dame OC Tommy Rees has already built a strong connection with one of the nation's best 2023 wide receivers, Carnell Tate
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After a standout freshman campaign for Marist (Ill.) High in 2019, wide receiver Carnell Tate quickly became one of the most intriguing pass catchers in the 2023 class. Last fall, however, Tate was unable to build on his breakout season due to Covid-19, so Tate decided to transfer down to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. in order to maximize his talent on the field.

Tate arrived at IMG last month, and since then he's already been focused on improving his speed and quickness when changing direction. Tate mentioned that creating separation is at the top of his offseason checklist during a recent interview with Irish Breakdown.

“Every coach here has played college ball and some went on to play in the NFL for years,” Tate explained. “The expectations are a National Championship, that's the bar right there. The bar doesn't get lower than that, that's our main focus right there.”

With a championship-or-bust mentality, Tate is putting forth a team-first mentality and as a result is not paying too much attention to the state of his recruitment. Since he was not on the field last Fall, Tate says that his recruitment has “slowed down,” but he's still hearing from some major programs on a consistent basis, such as Notre Dame.

“I hear from them almost every day,” Tate said. “I communicate with Coach Tommy [Rees] every day. Then me and Coach Del [Alexander], we have our call whenever he is available. I'll hit him up, I'll call him. If he doesn't answer, I know to call him again later. Right now, we are just building relationships. Coach Tommy is a cool guy and a great guy to talk about life with.”

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At the moment, Tate has picked up offers from schools such as Notre Dame, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota and Vanderbilt to form a total of 11 scholarships. Out of that group, Tate hears from the Fighting Irish on a regular basis, and the pitch that ND is making to him is crystal clear.

“They know how to win football games, so I'm not worried about that,” Tate said. “They know how to compete. It's just throwing the ball really, like I want to be able to produce on the field, so that's it. That's what we talk about because that's what I'm there for [as a receiver].”

According to Tate, Notre Dame is moving in the direction of a pass-centric offense as Coach Rees says they are going to “air the ball out,” which naturally appeals to the 6-2, 180-pound pass catcher. And soon enough, Tate will have an opportunity to add some facets of the ND campus to a list of what appeals to him about the school since he will be visiting on March 18.

“I will be sure to ask my boy Justin Walters, who is there right now, a safety, I'll ask him what are some cool things to go look at,” Tate mentioned, referring to the 2021 Irish signee. “Right now, they're like the only program [I'm visiting] because they're an hour away from home, so it's a quick trip there and back.”

In terms of his recruitment, Tate is not planning on releasing a top group or anything of that nature until after his junior campaign with the Ascenders. By that time, schools across the country will have had an opportunity to see how much he's improved from his freshman to junior season, but it would not be a surprise in the least for Notre Dame to still be embroiled in this recruitment.

Here is a short summary from SI All-American of Tate's performance from a camp held just outside of the Chicago area last fall:

“Standing at 6-2 and 175 pounds, Tate was already one of the more physically gifted receivers at the camp. On a pretty regular basis, Tate used his quickness off the line to get a clean release, but his crisp route running really stood out. Whether he would stem a route to break open downfield or just run a simple route with sharp footwork and change of direction, Tate stood out thanks to those qualities as well as his soft hands.”

Tate ranks as the nation's No. 58 overall player and the No. 6 receiver in the 2023 class according to 247Sports.

Keep an eye on Tate's performance this Fall as the Fighting Irish may be forced to fend off a host of other schools in order to lock up his verbal pledge. 

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