Former Wharton High star Auden Tate ready for NFL Draft

Former Wharton High star Auden Tate ready for NFL Draft

Auden Tate has always set a high standard for himself on the football field.

“Growing up, I modeled my game and took stuff from Calvin Johnson and Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall in the red zone, and especially Dez Bryant,” Tate said.

At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, the former Wharton Wildcat resembles some of his role models.

And he shares more than just their physical attributes.

“I’m very confident in myself,” Tate said. “That’s one thing my parents taught me really well. Not matter what happens good or bad, always have that confidence in yourself because at the end of the day, you’ve only got yourself.”

Tate, who led Florida State in touchdown catches (10) and was tied for the team lead in receptions (40 for 548 yards), has been projected as a third-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

His underwhelming 4.68 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine has left some people questioning if Tate’s fast enough to succeed in the pros.

But that 40-time isn’t a number that Tate’s too worried about.

“If you watch my film, I’m not really a burner,” Tate said. “I have more deceptive speed. I know how to tempo my routes and stuff like that, and kind of put that big body between them. So you can be fast all you want, but if you aren’t strong enough, it really doesn’t matter.”

Tate finished his year with an Independence Bowl record with three touchdown receptions, adding five catches for 84 yards in a win over Southern Mississippi.

The receiver’s monster performance in his final game wearing garnet and gold gave NFL scouts a glimpse of what he’s capable of at the next level.

“It kind of gave me a little more buzz,” Tate said. “I pretty much made those types of plays (all season), but I made them more frequently (in the bowl game). That’s probably the healthiest I’ve been because I was dealing with the shoulder. So I got some time off. So that’s probably me at my healthiest besides (against) Alabama and NC State.”

And if the stars align, there’s a chance that Tate could be reunited with his former Wharton teammate, Marshall quarterback Chase Litton, who’s also seen as a mid-round prospect.

“Chase, that’s my dog,” Tate said. “That would be crazy. We’ve actually been talking about it a lot. It would be great. We definitely have a lot of chemistry with a lot of folks. So I think it would be good.”

There’s no doubt that Tate’s an ideal red zone target with his size.

And now he’s just one phone call away from living his NFL dream.

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Justine Knowles