Relevant Awards: 2013 SEC Honor Roll, 2011 SEC Honor Roll
Strengths: Tate gave Vanderbilt a versatile weapon from the tailback spot thanks to his ability to carry, catch, and throw the ball. The Hendersonville native was the power-back option next to Jerron Seymour and Brian Kimbrow in Vandy's three-headed rushing attack last fall. He provided the 'Dores with a valuable change-of-pace back who could move the pile behind a 225-pound frame.
He was even more effective as a receiver in James Franklin's screen-heavy offense. Franklin moved Tate to the slot in 2011 and Tate responded with 22 receptions. He moved back to tailback in '12 and '13, but retained his pass-catching skills, adding 30 receptions and two touchdowns over his final two seasons. Tate has soft hands, and that made him a valuable asset on third downs as an extra weapon for the 'Dores.
Weaknesses: Tate does a lot on the football field - but he doesn't excel at any one thing. The senior leader doesn't have an NFL skillset to fall back on or a specific role to fill at the next level. While he was a useful Swiss Army Knife player for James Franklin, he did not show the athleticism that would make him successful at the next level.
Tate averaged just 3.7 yards per carry while ceding playing time to Zac Stacy and Jerron Seymour at tailback over his career. He was an effective pass catcher out of the backfield, but he failed to make a significant impact as a wideout back in 2011. While that would make him a candidate to be a third-down back for an NFL team, he may not be elusive or powerful enough to shed tackles and provide a reliable weapon in high-pressure situations.
Additionally, he didn't find the end zone much for a player who was the biggest runner in the Commodore backfield in 2013. He had just four touchdowns as a senior, and while nagging injuries can be blamed for some of his ineffectiveness, Tate simply didn't have the kind of year that grabbed scouts' attentions last fall.
Projection: Undrafted. Tate was a valuable presence for a Vanderbilt team that won 18 games in his final two seasons. He did everything that was asked of him, filling roles at tailback, wideout, and wildcat quarterback for the Commodores. However, he failed to stand out on his own team as a runner or receiver.
Tate may find a spot at someone's summer camp, and he has the makeup of a solid third-down back if he can meld his pass-catching with another level of explosiveness as a runner. That'll take a big leap from Tate, but hard work was never anything he was afraid of in Nashville.
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