Tate, who notes that he watched the draft on Friday night with about 50 friends and family members, said he and his agent expected him to be drafted earlier in the second round than what happened.
"It was very emotional," he said of the scene at his family's home in Maryland. "When things don't go the way you are expecting things to go, you start getting nervous and I was getting nervous out there."
The running back said he was surprised when the Texans called him. "I really thought the Patriots were going to draft me with their pick," he says, noting that he did a private workout and came away feeling that New England liked him a lot.
"The only time I had talked to them (the Texans) was at the combine," he says. "I thought it was going to be more of a longshot for them."
The running back said in addition to the Patriots he thought he might be drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, the San Diego Chargers or the Cleveland Browns.
Tate said he was disappointed he didn't go higher, but notes he is excited about being selected by the Texans. "There some guys who went before me who I thought shouldn't have, but that is how it works. I am going to get over it and I am going to start working hard starting next week."
Tate said he will report to the Texans with the attitude that he will play as a rookie. "It is a great situation. It is a franchise on the rise. Hopefully I can help take them to the next level."
Tate became just the fifth player in Auburn history to rush for more than 3,000 yards. He finished his career with 3,321 rushing yards after gaining 1,362 as a senior in 2009.
Named Auburn's team MVP on offense by the coaching staff, he finished his career with 24 rushing touchdowns, which tied him with James Brooks and Brent Fullwood for sixth in Auburn history.
Tate, who played for Auburn as a 17-year-old freshman out of Snow Hill High School in Maryland, gained 392 yards on 54 carries in 2006. He rushed for 903 yards on 202 carries in 2007 and he gained 664 yards on 159 carries as a junior.
Ben Tate runs in Auburn's 2009 victory over Ole Miss.
For his career he averaged 4.9 yards per carry and started 19 games and played in 28 others.
He finished his career with 12 100-yard rushing games and three 150-yard efforts. In his final collegiate contest, he rushed for 108 yards on 20 carries and scored two touchdowns in Auburn's Outback Bowl victory over Northwestern.