Following Saturday’s Ohio State football practice, freshman wide receiver Carnell Tate had the black stripe removed from his helmet. All newcomers into the Buckeye football program have a black stripe placed down the middle of their helmets. When they prove themselves on and off the practice field, they get the stripes removed and are then considered a full-ranking member of the team.
The tradition was brought to Ohio State by Urban Meyer in 2012, and no true freshman has ever had his black stripe removed sooner than Carnell Tate.
What did Tate do to make his mark so early?
“I would say anytime a guy comes in and handles his business off the field – I think he has all straight-A’s right now. He’s never missed a workout, he’s always on time, he’s doing his job on the field. The combination of all that, it was well-deserved,” said offensive coordinator Brian Hartline on Tuesday.
Tate (6-2 191) came to Ohio State from IMG Academy in Florida, but he is a Midwestern guy from Chicago. He was a High School All-American, and one of the top receiver prospects in the 2023 class. The decision to leave home and attend IMG is just one example of the maturity he brought with him to Ohio State.
Hartline has seen plenty of other examples as well.
“I’d say he’s being well-detailed,” he said. “I would say that he’s doing a pretty good job taking meetings to the field. We talk about techniques, we talk about the details of every play, and he’s pretty consistent on hitting those. Probably the best thing he’s done is just the ability to make a mistake, correct it and then move on from it. He very rarely has repeated mistakes. And that’s usually a pretty good sign of a good player, a guy that’s about his business and that’s really what you’re hoping for.”
It’s rare for a true freshman receiver Ohio State to make an impact during the season, but when they do, the spring is usually the first place it starts to show. When a player is able to graduate early and then also make plays in practice when they should still be in high school, it means something.
And even though Carnell Tate has done well since arrived on campus in January, Hartline wouldn’t necessarily say he’s been caught off guard by the freshman’s performance.
“Oh, I wouldn’t say he’s surprised me,” he said. “I think that I really appreciate where he’s at off the field and on the field so early in his career. I wouldn’t say I would expect it to happen so quickly. I would have figured by the end of summer it would be starting to click a little bit. But he’s done a great job since he stepped foot on campus.”