Bio: Tate is a phenomenal multi-sport athlete who has signed on with the Tar Heels for both baseball and football. His father, Lars, was a NFL running back. After batted .560 as a junior, he participated in the Aflac All-American Game and the Under Armour All-America Game, and played with the East Cobb U17 All-Stars, one of the top summer travel teams in the nation. Perfect Game has Tate ranked the No. 2 high school senior in the country.
Recruitment: "I thought it seemed like North Carolina came in there near the end,” Cartersville coach Stuart Chester said. “[Donovan] had his trip planned to go on a trip [Southern Cal] and other stuff going on. I was not shocked to see it because North Carolina has such a good program and Coach Fox and baseball-wise it does not get any better. [Butch Davis] is one of the best recruiters and he is getting the football program where everybody would like it to be. I think it is not a situation that didn't surprise people and probably was a pat on Donovan's back as well as North Carolina's." Tate selected UNC over finalists Michigan, Alabama and Southern Cal.
Why Carolina?: “I could see myself fitting at UNC really well,” Tate said. “It was just a feeling that I had. There are a lot of things that I felt about how I could fit in at UNC. My mom and I had talked about and it is just a good opportunity for me and my family.. … I tried to look at both sides – football and baseball. Obviously, the football program is coming up with Coach Davis being a good coach. He’s really building the football program up. They obviously have a really good baseball team being in the College World Series. [UNC] offers a good opportunity in both sports.”
Scouting Report: Tate has 6.34 speed in the 60-yard dash in addition to elite arm strength. He was clocked from the mound in the low 90s at the 2008 Perfect Game National Showcase and his infield throwing velocity has been clocked at 95 miles per hour. "I think he could go right to [North Carolina] to start - that is not a slight on anyone there,” Chester said. “Just watching it on TV and the ACC Tournament and things like that, Donovan is a Division I player currently at our [high school] level, in my opinion. I think he could step right in and hold his own in the outfield with anybody and if not hit leadoff, hit as the three or four batter. I see him stepping in and being that one person who commands respect from seniors on down even though he is a freshman."
Tate's scouting report showcases his five-tool potential, with a good approach at the plate and the potential for at least average power in the big leagues to go with plus speed and baserunning instincts. His play in the outfield is graded at above average as is his throwing arm, as compared to Major League players, but his ability to get a jump and an accurate read on balls and utilize his speed into the gaps is what the scouts are most impressed with. The main question mark is his ability to hit consistently against Major League pitching and how long his development would take in the minors.
Coach Quote: "What he brings to the table: he is a threat, he is the X-factor to being the thing that brings you over the top to win,” Chester said. “He is a five-tool player. Anything hit in the outfield there’s a good opportunity he will catch it regardless of which direction it is hit. You are not going to run on him and you are not going to throw him out on the bases and you are definitely not going to strike him out. He makes everyone else around him on our team better.He is reliable and there is probably a better word for that. If something is hit to him he will catch it. If you need a game winning hit he is going to get it. Nobody worries about anything when Donovan is around."
Future Plans: Tate’s abilities have kept things busy at Cartersville High School.
"It has been a hectic year as far as information, phone calls, visits and even having scouts at practice," Chester said. "We have had general managers to cross checkers, agents and everything out here."
Tate has been universally hailed as one of the nation’s top prospects. Perfect Game ranks him as the No. 5 overall draft prospect (including high school and college) and projects him as a first-round selection. Reports are that Tate and his agent – renowned hardball negotiator Scott Boras - are seeking an eye-popping signing bonus. Add in Tate’s interest in college football and his pro decision/negotiation could run all the way until the August 15 deadline.