Making changes is something new for offensive lineman Marcus Tate, a recent addition to the Tru Prep Academy (Miami Gardens, FL) football team.
The class of 2021 prospect spent his past three seasons at University School, where he crafted himself into one of the best players in the South Florida area. Now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic halting fall sports at U-School, Tate joined the likes of his teammates by joining the Saints.
305Sports spoke to Tate, a Clemson Tigers commit, regarding his collegiate future, Friday night’s showdown against St. Thomas Aquinas, high school career and his senior season expectations.
Your Saints squad is currently 3-0 as you enter Friday’s contest versus St. Thomas Aquinas tonight. How excited and confident are you about taking down one of the nation’s best teams?
“I’m very confident. We had a very good week of practice. We’re coming into the game trying to show the world that we got a lot to prove. I’m not really into talking trash, it’s gonna be a good game. We’re underdogs, we got something to prove tonight and that’s what we’re gonna show. Just playing hard and with a chip on our shoulder.”
You’ve been committed to Clemson since September of 2019. How has your relationship remained with them ever since?
“We talk every day, like legit every day. It’s like they still recruit me even if I’m already committed there. I appreciate that a lot, I respect it. It was a big reason why I went there. I still get recruited by Miami and [Florida] a lot because I’m in-state, but Clemson still recruits me the hardest and I’m already committed there so I appreciate that a lot.
“They made life real easy, it’s just the culture they had that was for me.”
What were your thoughts on the Miami-Clemson game?
“I’m not gonna say I wasn’t surprised. I just think Miami’s just not at the same pace [as Clemson] right now. I think Miami will eventually get there, with the boys that they got coming in this year like Leonard Taylor and Khalil Brantley and all them boys. They’re gonna do stuff one day when they get into their time at Miami. I’m just excited to see what they do, I still got love for them, I wish the best for them.”
As we approach hopefully the end of the recruiting dead period, do you plan on visiting any other schools, or are you locked in on Clemson?
“I’m locked in on Clemson. I’m planning on [enrolling into the school] in January. That’s where my heart is at right now.”
You and Troy Stellato headline the Clemson commits down in South Florida. Have you tried pitching the Tigers to any players in the area?
“We were recruiting James Williams and Jason Marshall for a little bit. But they went to Florida and UM, but I’m not really surprised, they seem to love those two schools. We tried getting those two to come, especially James because I was cool with James. But you get what you can get.”
Everybody has a why to their motivation to play football. Is there a specific someone or something that you play for?
“It’s a cool story. I didn’t really get serious about football until my freshman year of high school. I was a basketball player, played basketball my whole life, and then all of a sudden, freshman year it just made sense to play with my size and everything. Now I just really play for my mom, for my family. I got a lot of stuff going on with me, and I just feel like this really brings some light into my family and into my life.
“I also play for myself because it’s one of the finer things you get to enjoy in life, and I really enjoy playing football, I love playing football, so I do it.”
What’s your favorite high school football memory?
“My freshman year, we were playing Monsignor Pace in the regional final. We beat them by three, it was just a back and fourth game, they leaned heavy on O-line that game. Our running back actually had all six touchdowns that game. It was all because the O-line did their thing. That gave me a lot of confidence going on to my sophomore year.”
As you continue on your senior year, do you have any accolades in mind that you would like to accomplish at Tru Prep?
“I’m just tryna win. Also, I’m tryna get my teammates that are still being recruited to colleges. We got a lot of them so that’s why I did this for. I could’ve just opted-out and just focused on myself but I did it for my teammates and I’m real passionate about others people’s success, so that’s why I do it.”
How’s your early experience at Tru Prep looking like?
“It’s unique. Even though you have to drive to Hialeah every day and I live in Sunrise. That’s closer to Palm Beach than it is Miami-Dade county. I like it, it’s definitely a new experience. We’ve definitely been more focused, probably one of the more focused years that I’ve been at playing under this coaching staff. That’s really exciting.
“Our team is better, having different kids play with us, it’s exciting.”
Making the jump from your junior year to senior year, what would you say you’ve improved on the most?
“Strength. I wasn’t really that strong my last three years than I am right now. I still got ways to go, I’m still working out and everything. But definitely my strength in the run game.”
For any kids in the South Florida area or anyone in general, what advice would you give to any up and coming kids who desire to be in your shoes?
“Just work. One thing I did when I was young was just work and take all the work you could possibly get. I remember my freshman year I went second-team, third-team and first-team, I did all of them because reps really helped. Also, just doing extra stuff like on Sunday’s when you get that day off, watch film, do some techniques, you don’t got to do nothing real physical. Just doing the little things, that’s always took me a long way and other people don’t so you stand out.
“That’s all that’s always helped me, doing other things that other people weren’t and also just extra reps. That was probably the best thing for me, just doing extra reps.”