One of the guys who drew the most attention during Friday's action at the McDonald's 7-on-7 Tournament on the University of Arkansas campus was a young man who will also be there for college.
Harrison tight end Austin Tate (6-6, 220, 4.7) committed to the Razorbacks earlier this summer after getting very little publicity as a junior.
The three-sport Goblin star, who resembles Dallas tight end Jason Witten on the field, showed Friday just why Arkansas wanted him with great hands, an ability to get open while lined up inside or out and how to finish off a play.
"I like splitting out and we have kind of organized some plays where I am tight and then I run out," Tate said. "There's good variety in that I can make plays from inside, outside and also stay in and block, which I don't mind doing."
Tate, one of five current UA 2009 commits, caught 42 passes for 708 yards and 12 touchdowns last season for the Goblins, who are now a spread offense as will be his future college team.
"In the spring game they (the Razorbacks) threw it a whole lot more than they had in the last 10 years," Tate said. "It's been pretty exciting thinking about it, knowing I am not going to come over here and just block all the time. I don't mind blocking, but I like to get out and run a little bit. I am like a bird dog in that I like to run a little bit every once in awhile. It is just exciting to know that I am going to be coming from the same type offense we have in high school."
That didn't use to be the case as long-time Harrison head coach Tommy Tice was long known for his run-oriented offenses.
"Coach Tice really did the running game for a long time, but he told me and my dad when I was in the ninth grade that we may go to the spread," Tate said. "I was very excited about that, but I really didn't think it was going to happen for sure. But I got up to high school and it did happen and it has been a blast."
Tate is also a baseball and basketball star, which has cut into his time to get bigger, stronger and faster in the weight room.
"I have been working on my speed and getting into the weight room and getting bigger," Tate said. "Playing three sports I haven't been able to get into the weight room a lot and this summer I have hit it pretty hard – like five days a week. I just try to focus on getting better for my team right now instead of worrying about the Hogs."
He does know that he will need to be bigger once he gets to the next level.
"I would like to gain about 30 or 40 pounds to keep myself protect, but I want to gain it in muscle and not fat," Tate said. "I need to bulk up and that's my number one goal. I also want to get faster and get more explosive."
Tate is clearly a very humble young man.
"Getting this Arkansas scholarship is about me," Tate said. "I wouldn't have it without my coaches – who worked hard with me - and my teammates. They are the only reason that I have got to this point. We do well as a team and that has helped me."
Harrison jumped all over Marshfield (Mo.) 36-8 and downed Rogers 29-28 before losing its last three pool games to Little Rock Christian, West Fork and Springdale.
The highlight of the day was rallying from a double-digit deficit to down Rogers in the final seconds.
"That just showed us to not ever give up," Tate said. "We trailed that whole game. We came out dull that first series, but we responded well and just kept fighting and kept going."
Harrison will be back in action Saturday afternoon as the tournament moves into bracket play with a championship game set for 4:30 p.m.
All of Friday's Results are available on recruiting board
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