From the onset of his recruitment Tampa (Fla.) Wharton standout Auden Tate made mention of his boyhood affinity for Michigan. Until this weekend everything he knew about the Wolverines he had seen on television. After experiencing the pomp & circumstance in person he knows firsthand what all the fuss is about.
“The visit was great,” said Tate. “I loved it. It was pretty much everything I expected and more (after) growing up as a kid watching it. I loved it a lot.”
That type of reaction to a cold, wet weekend that featured the Wolverines being upset at home by Maryland might be surprising to some, but it speaks to just how much of a fan the Tate is. So too did his response to what stood out to him most during his time in Ann Arbor.
“Going into the Big House,” Tate said. “It’s crazy in there. It’s like a jungle in there. It’s so big with so many people, especially when they bring out (the M Club banner) and the players run up and hit (the fans) just go crazy. I love the atmosphere.”
While the game day experience clearly proved to be the highlight of the trip, his interactions with the people in Ann Arbor made strong impressions as well. His player host Ty Isaac spoke of brighter days ahead for the program, while the coaching staff laid out for Tate the role he could have in helping them experience that improvement.
“(Isaac) was real cool to me,” said Tate. “He was just telling me stuff like the season wasn’t going the way they expected, but he said they have a lot of young guys in his class and in my upcoming class that could change the program around and bring it back to where it used be.”
“I was with Coach Singletary most of the weekend. I was with Coach Heck, Coach Nuss, and Coach Hoke, and then (Greg) Harden (Michigan’s Associate Athletic Director & Director of Athletic Counseling). Coach Nuss and Coach Heck were just showing me schemes (and how) they’d use me like they use Devin Funchess. They use him in the backfield, in the slot, receiver… they move around so much. I like it.”
Looking back on all of those conversations, the ones he had with Harden seem to have been the most impactful.
“Harden was probably the best (guy) I talked to,” Tate stated. “I kind of knew everything he was talking about. My dad kind of tells me stuff he said. It was kind of a good connection me and him.”
As positive as the visit was, Tate was well aware of the cloud hanging over the program. The coaching staff is under major fire currently and its future in Ann Arbor is uncertain. But Tate knew that before he boarded the plane last week and went into the visit with his eyes wide open.
“Coach Hoke is a good coach,” said Tate. “Talking to him for the first time in person, he is real cool. He looks like a player’s coach. But I understand football is a business. I just love the program by itself (so) it doesn’t really affect me.”
But none of that means that he is ready to change his commit status.
“I’m a solid commit to FSU still,” Tate insisted. “I’m just taking some visits… just making sure.”
That begs the question, did Michigan give him something to think about?
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Kind of.”
Next up on the visit docket for the four-star wideout is a trip to Tallassee for the Seminoles’ in-state grudge match with the Florida Gators.
Interview by Amy Campbell
Story by Sam Webb