Carnell Tate Ohio State Buckeyes Wide Receiver

2023 Ohio State Freshman Class Report: Wide Receiver Carnell Tate

This is the 18th installment in a series where Buckeye Huddle looks back on each member of Ohio State’s 2023 signing class and the impact they had as rookies, as well as the impact they could have during the upcoming 2024 season. Up next is wide receiver Carnell Tate.

Carnell Tate attended IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida by way of Chicago, so even though he was listed as a Florida prospect, he has always been a Midwestern guy. Tate transferred to IMG and spent his junior and senior seasons at the nationally renowned program. He averaged over 90 yards receiving per game as a senior.

Tate was a five-star prospect per both 247Sports and Rivals, and was ranked the No. 3 and No. 2 receiver in the 2023 class by those two services respectively. (ESPN ranked him the No. 28 receiver in the class.) Tate signed with Ohio State over offers from LSU, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Texas, Notre Dame, and everybody else.

2023 Season

Carnell Tate enrolled in the winter last year and quickly started making people talk. Coaches spoke highly of him early on, and he backed up those words by making plays in the spring and ultimately moving his way into the two-deep. Tate lost his black stripe after just five spring practices, which is faster than any Buckeye since the tradition began in 2012. How did it happen?

“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,” offensive coordinator Brian Hartline said at the time.

Tate again impressed in fall camp, prompting All-American receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. to say that Tate was way ahead of Harrison at the same point in their respective careers.

“Carnell’s gonna be special, man, I think,” Harrison said last August. “Carnell’s probably at a better point right now than I was going into my sophomore year. So I mean, I think he’s amazing. He handles his business. He’s always in the right spot, catches the ball and runs great routes. So I’m excited to really see what his career looks like. I think he’ll be one of the best receivers to ever come to Ohio State.”

Tate ended up playing in every game last year, starting the final game of the year in the Cotton Bowl. He caught 18 passes for 264 yards (14.7) and 1 touchdown. The 18 catches are the fifth-most for an OSU true freshman receiver in at least the last 40 years, and third-most in over 25 years, behind Garrett Wilson’s 30 in 2019 and Ted Ginn, Jr.’s 25 in 2004.

So Now What For Carnell Tate?

The Buckeyes lost starting receivers Marvin Harrison, Jr. and Julian Fleming from last year’s team, which almost certainly means that Carnell Tate will step into one of those openings. The expectation is then that he will do very well as one of the Buckeyes’ top two targets along with returning senior Emeka Egbuka.

Tate’s performance as a true freshman has head coach Ryan Day convinced his trajectory is looking similar to recent OSU greats like Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

“Similar,” Day said last fall. “I mentioned that to somebody just the other day. When you look at where Chris was that year, Garrett, Jaxon, you know those guys, Marvin, Emeka, they were coming on as you hit the mid-year, and then the second half the season is where they really made an impact. And I think Carnell coming in mid-year allowed him the opportunity to be in that same position and kind of be on the same trajectory.”

The sophomore season is where each of those guys really exploded, and that also goes back to David Boston in 1997 with 70 receptions for 930 yards and 14 touchdowns, and Cris Carter with 53 receptions for 879 yards and eight touchdowns.

So what should be expected of Tate this year as a sophomore? Well, everybody is on their own path and every receiver has to deal with different quarterbacks and defenses, but of the five names mentioned by Ryan Day, and the two greats listed directly above, the average sophomore season of those seven players was 66 receptions for 1,057 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Using a set of averages to set an expectation on Carnell Tate seems a bit silly, however, because nothing he has done to this point has been average. The most accurate expectation for Tate in 2024 is that he will be prepared for his role and execute it to his fullest.

Whatever happens after that is the defense’s problem.


Safety Malik Hartford
Receiver Brandon Inniss
Safety Jayden Bonsu
Offensive Tackle Luke Montgomery
Defensive End Joshua Mickens
Tight End Jelani Thurman
Defensive Tackle Will Smith, Jr.
Cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt
Quarterback Lincoln Kienholz
Linebacker Nigel Glover
Offensive Guard Austin Siereveld
Cornerback Jermaine Mathews, Jr.
Defensive Tackle Jason Moore
Linebacker Arvell Reese
Defensive Tackle Kayden McDonald
Interior Lineman Joshua Padilla
Safety Cedrick Hawkins

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