You aren't named Mr. Football in Tennessee if you aren't a player with special talents. Now imagine the type of player that receives the award as a junior. Golden Tate (5-11, 185 pounds) was that player last season for Pope John Paul II.
"He's a player that can score from anywhere on the field, in any situation," coach Brothers said of Tate. "He's a receiver; he has outstanding hands, tremendous speed and he runs very good routes. He's a very good target out in space. He's a guy that can lineup against a top-level corner and still make plays down field. At running back he's very shifty, he has great vision, he's able to set up cut back lanes, and he has the breakaway speed to turn a potential loss into an 80-yard touchdown."
"He's also our punter, and he returns kicks and punts," Brothers added. "He's a guy that can line up anywhere on the field and be a threat to score, offensively or defensively. We've timed him with a 4.4-forty on grass. He's fast enough that he's never been caught.
"We do play him at defensive back, although we try to rest him somewhere," coach Brothers explained. "We have other guys that can play defensive back for us, but when it comes to crunch time and we need someone covered up, we definitely have Golden in the game. He can play corner.
"He's a 3.0 (g.p.a.) student. He's a great kid. He's the kind of kid you pull for. He has tremendous talent, he's very humble and he understands that it could all be gone in a moments notice. He's a respectful, well-spoken kid. It's a thrill to be his coach."
Tate gets it done on the field and he gets it done in the classroom. Tate appears to be a guy that Notre Dame will look at in 2006.
"Notre Dame has been sending me letters and cards and stuff like that, but I haven't spoken to them about Golden," coach Brothers said. " He does like the idea of Notre Dame though. He understands the role that athletics and academics play. He understands that he's not going to be playing ball all his life. He wants to get a good education where he can have a good life after football and Notre Dame is a marquee program for that. The national profile, the history of winning, the opportunity to get exposure playing at Notre Dame, all of that is appealing."
Besides the Irish Golden Tate is getting heavy recruiting interest from Stanford, LSU, Alabama, Tennessee (offer), Vanderbilt(offer), Mississippi State, Auburn and Ole Miss (offer).
In 2005, Golden had 137 carries for 1,027 yards and 11 touchdowns (7.5 yards per carry). He also had 38 receptions for 813 yards and nine touchdowns (21.4 yards per catch). He returned 17 punts for 231 yards (13.6 per return) and 19 kick-offs for 426 yards (22.4 yards per return). He returned three kicks for touchdowns with a long return of 96 yards. For his career Tate has 60 touchdowns, 2,170 rushing yards 1,735 receiving and 10 interceptions.