It only took a week back in school and one missed football game to get Cartersville (Ga.) High’s Donovan Tate to change his mind. Previously, Tate made the decision to take the fall off of high school sports to rest from his baseball filled summer.
"His schedule over the summer wore him out, and I think his decision not to play was from all the pressure from everyone asking if he was going to play," Tate’s mother Traci Sims said.
BA’s number one prep position player prospect for the 2009 MLB Draft, Tate competed for USA Baseball’s 18U national team during its trials and competition throughout the month of July and then participated in the Aflac All-American Game and the Under Armour All-American Game through mid-August. He returned home from his travels on August 18.
"I played every day for a month and a half straight," Tate said. "From Phoenix to Canada to Los Angeles and then to Chicago, it was pretty tiring. I just needed a chance to relax and give my body a break."
However, while Tate’s friends and former teammates from Cartersville headed to the football season opener against cross-town rival Cass High, Tate listened to the game on the radio as he was already missing football too much to attend.
"Everyone asked me if I was going to the game, and I said no. I missed the excitement of football and the atmosphere," Tate said. "I hadn’t made my decision to come back by then."
If not by then, Tate made the decision shortly after and gave his football coach a call. After a vote by the seniors, Tate was invited back to the team and began practicing. He plans on playing safety and some wide receiver for Cartersville. Tate has been told he will definitely play in the team’s Sept. 12 game and might get on the field this Friday, Sept. 5.
Tate’s father, Lars, was a running back who was a second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1986. The elder Tate still ranks third in career rushing yardage at the University of Georgia, behind only Herschel Walker and Garrison Hearst.
Talented enough to play both sports in college, Donovan Tate has whittled the contenders for his services down to three: Florida, Georgia and Southern California. A Boras Corporation client, going to school seems to be at the top of Tate’s priorities.
"I want to go to school and play both sports in college," Tate said. "Right now, that’s more important than going pro."
On the baseball diamond, Tate is a true five-tool center fielder and is projected to be selected in the first 10 picks of the 2009 draft.