FRISCO, Tex. — Tate Ratledge asserted himself as a dominant tackle in the 2020 class at the Opening finals out in Texas earlier this week.
The Georgia commitment approximated he had 30 reps in one-on-one drills across three days of work against the nation’s elite defensive line prospects. Those drills took place at the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
He entered the week on the 247Sports Composite standard with the following ratings:
- Lists as the No.5 OT prospect in the nation
- Rates as the No. 38 overall prospect
- Slots as the No. 5 player in the state of Georgia
With the week he had, it seems he is due for a rating bump. But it won’t be that easy to gauge.
Ratledge was the only offensive tackle prospect in the top 5 among those ratings at The Opening finals. 5-star Paris Johnson Jr. was there, but he didn’t take reps against the other campers.
In his absence, the big man from Rome showed everyone what a 5-star tackle looked like regardless. The near 6-foot-7 rising senior had an impressive six-rep set against 5-star Clemson commitment Bryan Bresee.
Ratledge won at least two of those outright and Bressee won two. The other two could go either way or be pegged as a stalemate. Stalemates usually are scored to the offensive lineman in a drill that is heavily slanted toward the defensive linemen.
Those guys can just tee off and pass rush and spam their signature moves as much as they want. They can do so without the fear of spinning out of the gap they were supposed to fill for their run fits. It would be much easier to sack quarterbacks if those guys didn’t have to worry about playing the run, too.
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) July 3, 2019
Not sure we can find a better definition of good-on-good than Clemson commit @bryan_bresee and @rat1edge in this matchup. These are two of the very best in the nation. The young man from Rome here. 📈 pic.twitter.com/jnMQQ2X5kQ
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) July 2, 2019
Marietta High 4-star prospect B.J. Ojulari got him at least two times. Korey Foreman, the 5-star DE who rates as the nation’s No. 5 overall prospect for 2021, beat him on at least four or five occasions. Ratledge then rebounded with a three-rep win against Foreman on the final day.
Wednesday rematch: Highly impressive 2021 DE @koreyforeman54 vs. Darlington High OT/P @rat1edge today. The Georgia commit had a much better showing against the nation’s No. 5 player for his class. pic.twitter.com/mdmytkgHxw
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) July 3, 2019
Foreman even beat out Bresee for the “Defensive Line MVP” of the entire camp.
Strong rep here for the nation’s No. 5 overall player for 2021 in @koreyforeman54 working against @rat1edge today. Foreman is just 16. Also took the previous rep. His series here belongs with the Bresee set as the best reps against Ratledge so far. pic.twitter.com/wKirnBHr00
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) July 2, 2019
He said the best moments of the week for him came in those battles with Bresee and Foreman.
“I wanted to see both of them again,” Ratledge said. “That’s how you get better. When you see them in pads.”
He was also moved by the speech given by activist and speaker Brenda Tracy. Tracy continues to speak openly about the time she was raped by a group of young men that included two football players in 1998.
— Tate Ratledge 🐺 (@rat1edge) July 6, 2019
Ratledge gave UGA fans a lot to look forward to. Both on the field and on the recruiting trail for 2020.
How does he feel about the class as it currently sits? That’s with the commitments the world knows about. Not the ones who might be on the way.
“I feel like we have got one of the top classes in the nation,” Ratledge said. “It is going to go nowhere but up and I know a few people that are going to end up coming that I can’t say the names of right now.”
“But Carson Beck is a great quarterback. I went out here this week and watched him. It has been good knowing him and seeing him out here.”
Ratledge will be in Athens later this month for the big recruiting event. He currently plans to take his official visit the weekend of the Notre Dame game. He will not be able to enroll early.
The 4-star OT said he timed at 5.3 seconds in his 40. That was after he weighed in at 320 pounds.
Tate Ratledge says to expect more fireworks on the trail
It was a week for Ratledge to get better. But it was also a week to get Georgia better, too.
He used that time to talk to priority Georgia targets at the opening, including 5-star ATH Darnell Washington.
“I talked to a good bit of people,” he said. “Like Darnell. I think he is leaning a lot towards Georgia but I don’t know that for sure. He said he really liked coach [Todd] Hartley.”
What does he think about the class once all those big names he can’t say at this time become known?
“It is going way up,” Ratledge said. “Way way up.”
He did speak to 5-star RB Kendall Milton again this week. Ratledge was in Athens last month for Milton’s official visit.
“I told him he would have a great offensive line to run behind,” Ratledge said.
He asked Milton about his last official visit to Alabama, too.
“Then I slowly slid in the Georgia stuff,” Ratledge said. “He said he liked it down there. We’ll just have to see where he is at when he is ready to commit.”
Milton told reporters this week in Texas that he plans to share his decision on July 29.
“We have a 2020 group chat for all the Georgia commits,” Ratledge said. “It would be very exciting if he came. We are all like staying on him about it and texting him about it. That would be a big get for us. We would all be really pumped.”
Ratledge said that he also had the opinion the Bulldogs would pick up a commitment from 4-star Oklahoma OG Andrew Raym this month and “probably” 4-star New Orleans target Sedrick Van Pran, too.
For Raym, he looked at that decision in much the same light as his own. Raym will have to look past the “dream school” stuff with what he feels is the best place to further his career.
Ratledge had to look past those dreams he had growing up to be a Tennessee Volunteer. He likened that experience to Raym when it comes to his connection to the in-state Oklahoma Sooners.
Same elite player. Same story. Different states and schools.
How Tate Ratledge got better this week
The Darlington High standout used the week in Texas as a work week.
“Bettering myself,” he said. “Going against the best competition in the nation. Which is something I love and just getting better in just every aspect of my game.”
He worked mostly with the right tackles this week. That’s because he felt more comfortable going against other elite players at that spot. Ratledge said he was just more comfortable with his punch out of his stance with his right hand.
Does that mean he is a right tackle fixture in Athens? Can he play left tackle?
“Coach [Sam] Pittman says either one,” Ratledge said. “Whichever one I fit in best once I get in there and he works with me.”
The reps against Foreman on back-to-back days was part of that growth. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound rising junior from California humbled him on Tuesday in a way that Bresee never even did.
He made Ratledge looked like just a good Class A ballplayer from Northwest Georgia at times. That’s a pretty big feat.
“I started lunging with my set,” Ratledge said on the final day. “He started chopping and I’d get [ticked off] and go at him. But today I set my hands back and waited and things ending up turning out a lot better for me in every rep I took.”
It was an interesting moment there. Ratledge said he sent the film to Georgia line coach Sam Pittman to look at. It helped him for his rematch with Foreman.
“He said you need to stop lunging and make sure you get your fit on him,” Ratledge said. “You had to keep placing and replacing your hands. That helped me out a lot with that.”
Georgia junior All-American Andrew Thomas was also there working with campers all week, but he didn’t work with the right tackles. Just the left tackles. Ratledge said he didn’t get to talk to Thomas much during the camp.
It then came down to Bresee and Ratledge to close out the Opening final 5 lineman showcase in the trenches.
“I loved that,” Ratledge said. “I told him he’s getting me better. He told me I’m getting him better. That’s the best competition I think I will ever go against during any camp. That’s him. The best of the best.”
He said that Bresee likes to play chess with his assignments.
“It is him trying to set me up for something always,” Ratledge said on the final day. “I think from what I saw he’s the best out here at setting you up for something he is going to do next. He’ll come bull rush you and the next thing you know you are out front and he will spin you. That’s what he tried to do today. I knew that was what was coming. That’s what he did to me earlier.”
Ratledge feels Bresee is an inside guy. Unless he can get his 40 times down. While Bresee is very effective on the edges at 295 pounds, those Tigers in Clemson will have a guy like 5-star Georgian Myles Murphy to place on the edges on their defense.
Bresee is elite, but even he can’t fire off the ball like Murphy.