Yesterday, Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate was named first-team All American on both the Associated Press and Sporting News teams. Because Tate had already been named first-team All American on the other three teams recognized by the NCAA, he becomes Notre Dame's first consensus All American since cornerback Shane Walton earned the honor back in 2002.
Last week, Tate became Notre Dame's first winner of the Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the nation's top receiver. Tate finished last season with 93 receptions for 1, 496 yards and 15 touchdowns. Tate and classmate Jimmy Clausen have announced that they will enter the 2010 NFL Draft.
Early projections suggest that Tate will be the second wide receiver drafted, behind Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant. I believe he will make a outstanding pro receiver because of his versatility.
Golden can run the intermediate routes and the go routes, or he can take it to the house from the toss out wide. His ability to return punts will provide additional value to his stock. Not only is he quite fast, but he's cat-quick and can turn a big play in tight quarters.
Clausen, like any incoming NFL quarterback, will find success only if he is drafted by the right franchise. Former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, whom I believe still has a chance to be a good NFL quarterback provided he escapes Cleveland, is an example that you're only as good as your supporting cast. Rare are the quarterbacks that can come into the NFL and start at the outset of their careers.
The beating Clausen endured while at Notre Dame, both physically and psychologically, should better prepare him for what he is set to face in the NFL. And though I liked Brady Quinn for his leadership qualities, his accuracy was not nearly as precise as Clausen's, whose accuracy should set him apart from any quarterback entering the draft — even though ESPN's Todd McShay believes otherwise. Also impressive, Clausen improved in spades at recognizing the pressure in the pocket while wisely removing that ill-advised pirouette from his repertoire.
On the recruiting front, I'm hearing that new head coach Brian Kelly will secure most of the current 2010 class while working to pluck a few more recruits to close out the remaining class of 2010.
From the 2010 class, five kids will enroll at Notre Dame this January. Among them is wide receiver Tailer Jones from Georgia. Jones, the son of former Notre Dame linebacker Andre Jones, will be outstanding before his Notre Dame career is finished.
With Tate departing for the NFL, and even though the Irish depth chart looks stacked at wide receiver, do not be surprised if Jones logs significant playing time next season for the Irish.
Take a look at him in action here. This video was taken at a camp for high school all stars — last year! Jones, as you'll see, makes opposing cornerbacks appear foolish while he blows by them, causing them to fall down in their desperate attempts to keep stride with the speedy Georgian.