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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
Four-star tackle Tate Ratledge certainly has the lineage of an elite prospect.

Elite tackle prospect Tate Ratledge had a block straight out of Hollywood

Jeff Sentell

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet today calls for an introduction to elite 2020 tackle prospect Tate Ratledge

ROME, Ga. — It is going to take a minute or two to sift through a few stories to figure out the one I like best about Tate Ratledge.

The 6-foot-6, 295-pound rising junior is called “Meathead” by his family and Darlington High teammates. His mother is an educator, the sort that teaches Advanced Placement classes, and she stays on him about his grades.

Ratledge placed seventh at the state track meet for Class 1A private in the shot put (47 feet, 4.5 inches) and then hauled back across town to get to spring practice. He arrived on campus and then bobbed from practice field to locker room and back to the practice field in about 11 minutes.

Those practice reps were another chance to get better. They were not excused because of the state track meet.

His high school curriculum at Darlington is stout. He said he spends up to an average of two hours each night on his homework.

Tate Ratledge-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting-UGA football recruiting
Tate Ratledge is rated by 247Sports as the nation’s No. 11 tackle prospect for the class of 2020. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

But there are a few other things that stick out to more than the fact he grew up a Tennessee fan.

It sounds like Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee will be in the thick of his decision until the very end. But that doesn’t stand out right now.

His father, Dean, played a few seasons in the NFL at linebacker. His father has a favorite school (Think: Rocky Top) but will allow Tate to make up his own mind.

Dean Ratledge is just about the only grown man in his family who didn’t have pockets high enough to register above the 6-foot, 6-inch mark.

Tate is already at 6-6 but his physicians tell him his growth plates are still open. He could wind up around 6-8 when he’s done growing. That would line up with two of his father’s cousins, each just 3-4 inches shy of 7 feet.

“He’s been the runt,” Tate Ratledge said of his father’s relatively slight size on the family tree.

(Recruiting 101: Recruit offensive linemen with fathers who played in the NFL who are 6-4 and are still called the “runt” of their families.)

The young man can also bend at that size and weight. Very good size. Very flexible. Still young. The word remarkable fits the Ratledge scouting profile when it comes to that.

Balanced. Powerful. Quick. Those terms also belong.

“A 6-foot-6 kid that is at age 15 that can get parallel and keep his heels on the ground and jump up in pretty impressive,” Darlington coach Tommy Atha said. “He’s a 295-pound athlete right now. He can kick a football and shoot a good 3-pointer and is a definite left tackle. He’s that blindside guy.”

Ratledge is also that “Blind Side” guy for me from now on. That’s because of his “The Blind Side” block last season.

That time Tate Ratledge blocked a guy practically to Alabama

The game was against rival Trion.

“But honestly, I go out and play every week like that’s our main rival,” Ratledge said.

Ratledge said the block took place on the left hash. It might have been the first time that night his man didn’t cut him.

The 4-star prospect put an effort out there on film that wound up being flagged for unnecessary roughness.

That didn’t stop Alabama line coach Brent Key from spamming the rewind button when he saw the clip.

“Coach Key just thought it was the funniest thing,” Ratledge said.

His coach provides the proper context.

“I never got a ruling on this,” Atha said. “We’re playing a team up here on this field. The ball is on the visitor side hash. OK? He is the right tackle. That puts him almost to the numbers. We run off tackle his way and he takes the defensive tackle to the sidelines, through the visiting team, off the sidelines and plants him on the track.”

“He got flagged for it but the whistle hadn’t blown because it was a long run. We always tell him to play to the whistle. He came back and said ‘Coach, I was just playing to the whistle’ and he wasn’t malicious. He was just engaged and he was running his feet until the whistle blew.”

That defender didn’t say anything to Ratledge about his family or upbringing. Ratledge said he just blocked him for approximately 20-25 yards because it was a chance to set a tone.

“I try to make that person across from me not want to play me ever again when I’m playing,” he said.

Ratledge didn’t see that defensive tackle again until much later in the game. He came out after that snap.

(Recruiting 202: Find a guy with a nasty streak like Ratledge. “I got kicked out of five daycares when I was little,” he said. “For being too aggressive. If I wanted something, I would just take it from them back then.”)

The recruiting and life aspects to know about Tate Ratledge

Ratledge aims to study business and management in college.

  • His pinned tweet is an Alabama offer. Why? “I think when people look at it they see the Alabama offer and realize that is something,” he said. “My dad has been telling me to take that down. It looks like I am showing favorites, but I don’t know about that. I honestly think it is more of a status symbol that I was good enough to get that offer, actually.”
  • He felt that Alabama offer was the gold standard. Still does.
  • Look for him to make his commitment within a certain time period. “Sometime between the end of next football season and the beginning of my senior season,” he said.
  • Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee recruit him the hardest right now.
  • Ratledge likes to fish. His trophy catch is an 8-pound bass. He ripped that from the water with just a worm on his hook.
  • He wore No. 61 his freshman year, but he outgrew that number. He wears No. 50 now. Why? “That jersey fits me,” he said. “The old one didn’t anymore. That one did. I just had that and will just stick with it.”
  • When coaches measure his wingspan, he cannot remember what they say. “I just get a lot of ‘wows’ and stuff like that when they are measuring my arms,” he said.
  • Ratledge critiques himself the way the son of an offensive line coach would. He’s pretty good at run blocking but realizes he opens up too early at times with his pass sets. “Guys can sometimes work that inside move on me sometimes,” he said.
  • His first offer was Virginia Tech. Georgia and Tennessee both offered him on the same day last summer.
  • What is he looking for? “I kind of look at it like I want to go somewhere and be able to put football to the side and still like to live there for four years,” Ratledge said. “Where I can see myself living.”
  • He’s visited Alabama and Georgia the most. Tennessee is right behind.
  • Ratledge on his recruitment: “I want to go somewhere where I can feel like I can progress more as a player and be the absolute best I can,” he said.

Tate Ratledge on Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee

The likable young man is still open. He’s not limiting any opportunities, but I wanted to collect his thoughts on those three programs that recruit him hardest.

Tate Ratledge-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting-UGA football recruiting
Tate Ratledge plans to camp at Clemson this summer. He also plans to camp at UGA to work with line coach Sam Pittman. Ratledge also plans to camp at both Alabama and Tennessee. He also aims to get down to Miami and Florida, too.

He made it clear that tackle depth does not faze him. At all. He really likes competition.

Alabama: “You can just tell a lot by the way their players carry themselves down there. You can tell that they think they know they are the best and they know that they have to keep working to stay there.”

Georgia: “I like it down there. You can tell that they are hungry. They want to be at the top. I think that losing to Alabama in the championship last year is really going to get them going and get them to be number one and to win it all even more.”

Tennessee: “I like Coach [Jeremy] Pruitt and his confidence. He is very confident he can get Tennessee to where they need to be. Back to where they used to be.”

His studies at Darlington are no easy matter. He said he’s had about five tests in the last week. That’s why he has those 1-2 hours of homework each night.

Mother’s Day and recruits

The way that recruits use social media catches a lot of attention. The family men of the reporter tribe always appreciate the way that some student-athletes use social media as a super-sized greeting card or a show of affection to their mothers.

Here’s a sampling of some of the best ones I saw across my feed on Mother’s Day.

Five-star cornerback Andrew Booth shows off pictures with his mother at Auburn, Clemson and UGA.

Four-star athlete Trezmen Marshall is a 2019 UGA commit.

Kirby Smart had a message, too.

Five-star guard Jamaree Salyer reports to UGA from the class of 2018 in less than a month.

Another state title for Jadon Haselwood

Five-star Georgia wide receiver commitment Jadon Hasewlood won another Class AAA state title during the GHSA State track championships in Albany this weekend.

Haselwood is the highest-rated commitment for the Bulldogs in the class of 2019. Haselwood, a multi-decorated state champion in his GHSA track career, won the 110-meter hurdles in Class AAA.

A very significant de-commitment

Class of 2020 wide receiver prospect Jermaine Burton was at Hapeville Charter as a freshman. He transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., for his sophomore year.

It raises eyebrows when he essentially became a starter within a couple of weeks at that powerhouse.

He’s now chosen to move back to Georgia, to attend Marietta High for his junior season. Burton was the receiver MVP for The Opening Atlanta regional back in March.

Burton was at G-Day on April 21. He also hung around pretty well with IMG buddies Lejond Cavazos, Trey Sanders and Nolan Smith. Haselwood was also in that group.

He had been committed to Miami, his dream school. And yes, that’s now past tense.

Burton de-committed from Miami on Mother’s Day. He currently rates on 247Sports was the nation’s No. 21 receiver and the No. 111 overall prospect for 2020.

That rating will rise significantly in the next year. I hold the belief that Burton should very well be one of the nation’s top 5 receivers when all is said and done with the 2020 rankings cycle.

Smooth. Very smooth. Great ball skills and an uncanny knack for tracking the ball in the air. Burton was also the fastest player at that Atlanta regional.

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.