FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Notre Dame commitment Golden Tate was scheduled to arrive at the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Saturday around noon, but he ended up arriving late Saturday night.
In this exclusive interview, Tate takes us through his travels and talks about how he is ready to compete in the inaugural 0ffense-Defense Bowl.
"I flew in on Southwest and I was supposed to get there around 12:30pm, but when I got to the airport, the line was all the way outside," Tate said. "I got there around 8:30 a.m. and I couldn't get checked in for my 9:25am flight. I finally got through the line and they said the best they could do was send me on a flight up to Baltimore (Md.) and then I could fly back down to Ft. Lauderdale."
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The plane in Baltimore had an issue that made his arrival to Florida a little later.
"The plane had a broken armrest, so we had another delay there. I finally got to Fort Lauderdale around 7:20 p.m. I had to call people and find people to get a ride, so I didn't get on the bus until around 8:00 p.m. It was tough, but I finally got to the hotel and we were in the middle of meetings, so I was trying to find out what was going on."
Tate's second day has gone a little smoother.
"Yes, everything has gone well today," he said. "Practice went real well and all the guys I met are great. They are all competitive and they are great athletes. I just feel blessed to be here. I am just trying to compete, get a quarterback's trust, and find me a spot on the field."
This talented athlete is rooming with a future SEC lineman.
"I am rooming with Derek Sherrod and he is a cool guy," Tate said. "He is a really big guy. He looks like he is about 6-foot-6 and 320-pounds. He is a real nice guy and he is committed to Mississippi State."
Tate has been in Fort Lauderdale for a short time, but has already started to bond with some of his teammates.
"I have met Andrew Nuss (Notre Dame commitment) and he is a nice guy," he said. "I have also met Joe Haden (Florida commitment) and he is a great guy. Cameron Newton (Florida commitment) and Donald Langley (Tennessee commitment) are jokers. They are both real funny guys. We all have fun and mess with each other's schools and stuff. It is a lot of fun."
Part of Tate's decision to play in the game was based on his feelings about the sport.
"I really love the game," he said. "Whenever I am given the opportunity to play football, then I am going to do it. I am going to always play hard and have fun. In order to have fun, I have to win."
When it comes time to learn and prepare, Tate is focused.
"Between 9:00am-11:00am (morning practice) and then 1:00pm-3:00pm (afternoon practice), I am focused one-hundred percent. I am out there working hard and competing trying to find me a starting spot because everyone else is as good as me."
The future Notre Dame signee will line up at receiver for the East.
"My quickness and my speed are my two biggest strengths at receiver. I think those two things are what gets me where I go," he said "I think my hands are pretty good too, but I need to work on them. I can catch fine, but I can get better. I caught a pass over my head today, so I think I caught pretty good today."
Tate wants to see just how good he is this week.
"I am really looking forward to finding out how I stack up with all this talent," he said. "I am with 80 of the top players in the nation here, so I feel if I do well out here, then I can excel in college ball."
If they don't know Tate is going to South Bend already, then they will before long.
"Oh, I am definitely letting these players know," said a laughing Tate. "I am letting them know that 99.3-percent of their athletes graduate and that is what is most important. There is life after football, so that is very important."
It still hasn't sunken in for Tate.
"It hasn't hit me yet that I will be playing for Notre Dame," he said "I have committed, but it is still so far away. I am just trying to enjoy my family, friends, and right now I am focused on this Offense-Defense Bowl."
He is very excited about this week and experience.
"I am happy to be here and I am focused on earning me a spot. I want to get out there, compete, and make some plays," Tate said.