Fitch coach Carl Pelini said Tate is the ideal guy to coach.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
AUSTINTOWN -- No one doubts that Davanzo Tate is a big-play threat on offense. But what the Austintown Fitch High senior really loves is stopping big plays.
"I love shutting down other receivers," Tate, a cornerback and running back for the Falcons, said. "Cornerback is definitely what I wanted to play in college."
He'll get his wish.
Tate (5-foot-10, 185 pounds), a three-year starter for the Falcons, has verbally committed to West Virginia, joining Boardman defensive end Mike Villagrana as future Mountaineers.
"I liked the environment and I really hit it off with the coaches," Tate, whose older sister, Aleemah, also attends WVU, said. "It just seemed like a good school."
Tate, who also considered Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Boston College and Maryland, saw his stock rise this past track season. He won three individual sprinting events at the Mahoning County meet and qualified for the state meet in the 200-meter dash.
"I've played a lot of corner, but I didn't really see a lot of balls thrown my way last year, unlike my sophomore year," said Tate, who had three interceptions and 65 tackles in 2001 to earn first team All-Steel Valley Conference honors.
"Scouts started coming to my track meets to see if I had the speed."
Tate said he's been clocked as fast as 4.42 in the 40-yard dash. He benches 240 and squats more than 400 pounds. He also excels in the classroom, with a 3.5 grade point average, and he is a member of National Honor Society.
"He's just got a great work ethic," Fitch football coach Carl Pelini said. "He's the ideal guy to coach. He listens, he stays late. He's got a lot of natural ability, but he's just a tremendous worker."
Tate gained 451 yards on 92 carries (4.8 average) as a running back last season and also caught 13 passes for 125 yards.
Making a decision
Recruiting season can be a distraction, so Tate wanted to commit early so he could focus on this season.
"It was really mind boggling for a little bit," he said of the recruiting season. "This relieves a lot of tension."
Chaney senior Keilen Dykes is also considering attending West Virginia, and Tate said he'll try to recruit him.
Starting next week.
"We play Chaney on Friday, so after the first game, I'll talk to him about it," said Tate. "But not right now."