Ask anyone for a description of Pickerington (OH) Central star Jae'Sean Tate on the basketball floor, and nine times out of ten the response they give will be “he’s a dog!” 6-5, 225-lbs. of pure dog. Ron Artest without the attitude… Chane Behanan with more edge… both apt comparisons that will understandably give headaches in anticipation of his pending arrival at Ohio State. However, there is a remedy for the jackhammers set to go off in their collective heads. Turns out the gridiron is still calling this four-star small forward, and he’s listening. He believes his athleticism and mentality would serve him just as well between the white lines as they have on the hardwood.
“(My game in football) is just like basketball,” he said confidently. “I go 100% every time, very physical, outside linebacker, defensive end, see ball get ball, you know?”
“Football is actually my first love, you know? That’s the first sport I ever played. I didn’t really like basketball, but as time went on, I started to develop basketball skill, and right now that’s the route to go. It’s easier for me, and I’m just looking at the future. Football takes a toll on your body, you know? But what made me really consider football, I sat out half the season last year, and you know, I was just missing it. It was killing me. I couldn’t sit in that student section.”
Moving forward one of Tate’s major considerations will be which sport his size translates better to beyond college.
“I think about that too,” he admitted. “There are a lot of 6-5 guards in the NBA, but right now I’m the size of an NFL linebacker, so that comes into play too.”
A few persistent football programs have refused to give up hope in luring Tate to their side of the sports ledger. Recently even the Buckeyes began entertaining the notion.
"Urban Meyer came in a couple months back, but they’ve been talking to my high school coach about it, but he hasn’t come in the school.”
One coach that has made it by is Michigan LB coach, Mark Smith. The Wolverine assistant’s most recent visit to Pickerington Central came a few weeks ago.
“He just came to check out some more of my film,” Tate said. “He just wanted to know where my feel was, and what position I might want to play at the next level.”
The Wolverines are courting Tate for one of the biggest positions of need – outside linebacker. They quest to convince him of how well he would fit on and off the field in Ann Arbor is being aided greatly by a few of his former teammates.
Despite their best efforts, Tate is currently holding firm on his commitment.
“I’m a Buckeye,” he said matter-of-factly.
But if he decides to go the football route, will he really consider Michigan?
“I can’t answer that, man,” he replied with a smile. “I cannot answer that question.”
All he does know at the moment is that his future path as far as which sport he’ll play is still very much up in the air.
“It’s 50/50,” said Tate when asked to lay out the odds on whether he’ll play football or basketball at the next level. “All these writers and scouts saying I have a chance to go to the NFL, and I only played one year of football. A big factor is going to be how well I do this year on the football field, and how well I do on the basketball court. (The decision will come) when I’m completely done with senior year; after the last basketball game.”