On draft day, Barden assumes Tate, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound athlete/centerfielder, will announce whether he intends to take the MLB or college route.
In the mean time, Tate's primary focus has been helping Cartersville's baseball team repeat as GHSA AAA State Champions. The Purple Hurricanes, who are 28-4, swept Perry (Ga.) in the semifinals Monday and will host Game 1 of the finals Friday against the winner of Carrollton (Ga.) and Columbus (Ga.).
While batting lead off, Tate ended the regular season with a .475 average and a .648 on-base percentage, with seven doubles and seven home runs. He registered 25 RBIs and scored 31 runs.
"I don't know that he's hitting as many home runs [as last year]," Barden said. "But, I don't know that he's getting the same pitches as the others might be getting, because they pitch around him a little bit. The main thing is he's on base every time and he's scoring runs for us."
On the field, Tate has been credited with just one error.
With his baseball season monopolizing much of his time, Tate has not been able to follow the workout regimen UNC sends to all its signees. However, Barden doesn't believe that will hinder Tate's football career.
"Donavan's a special talent," Barden said. "He could walk into the weight room and bench press 300 pounds right now. As far as the physical part of it, I don't see it being a problem at all.
"I would say that the mental part of it is going to be where he has to adjust – especially moving to the college level." A late start to his football season wouldn't be anything new to Tate. Following his junior year, he gave up football only to change his mind right before the start of his senior season. As he worked himself into football shape, Tate played receiver and running back for the first six games. For the remainder of the season, he served as Cartersville's starting quarterback, leading the Purple Hurricanes to the second round of the GHSA AAA playoffs.
"On the high school level, he was talented enough to step out there and be ready right off the bat," Barden said.
Barden hasn't spoken to a UNC representative since Steve Hagen departed for a coaching position with the Cleveland Browns. However, he said Tate keeps in contact with John Shoop, UNC's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Where Tate will play, if he does enroll at UNC, is still a mystery.
"He could play anywhere from quarterback, running back, wide receiver to safety, outside linebacker," Barden said. "… I think [he'll play] wherever they felt like he could fit into with the things they were doing there… They recruited an athlete that could play quarterback."
Barden says he could see Tate excelling at either quarterback or safety on the collegiate level.
"He's a highly competitive kid," Barden said. "He's going to compete and he's going to give whatever he's involved in 100-percent. That's what makes him [special], along with him probably one of the most naturally talented kids I've ever seen."
Barden says Tate – who has been unavailable for an interview as the MLB Draft nears - was deemed academically qualified, according to the NCAA Clearinghouse, before this past Christmas.