Why longtime Tennessee Vols fan Tate Ratledge is now a Georgia Bulldog

Tate Ratledge-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Tate Ratledge, the nation's No. 5 OT for the 2020 cycle, chose Georgia on Monday.

ROME, Ga. — Tate Ratledge is a Bulldog. He summed up the two reasons why in quick-as-a-hiccup fashion for DawgNation Monday morning.

“Coach [Sam] Pittman” and “winning” were his two primary answers.

Georgia picked up a commitment from Ratledge on Monday morning from the upper school campus of The Darlington School in Rome in Northwest Georgia. It was streamed live by several media outlets who cover UGA and Georgia high school football.

Ratledge broke it down rather swiftly. That inspires this read to quickly get the DawgNation reader up to speed on the 4-star OT in much the same fashion.

  • Height and weight: 6-6.5 and about 308 pounds
  • Rankings: 4-star OT/Nation’s No. 5 OT/No. 39 overall prospect (247Sports Composite ratings)
  • Enroll early? No. He cannot from Darlington
  • What will he study? Business.
  • When did he decide? A little after G-Day on April 20.
  • When did Sam Pittman know? He said it was about two weeks ago.
  • Who will he recruit next? The first name Ratledge brought up was Joshua Braun. Braun (6-foot-6 and 320 pounds) ranks on that same composite as the nation’s No. 26 OT.
  • Jersey number? Ratledge hopes to wear No. 50 in Athens.
  • Best story from his recruitment journey? Check out his commitment link with the “How to Let ‘Em Down Easy 101” story featuring Pittman
  • Does he play other sports? Yes. He’s a strong discus and shot put thrower for the track team at Darlington.
  • Did his red tuxedo jacket from his junior prom hide any “Power G” clues? The on-the-record answer there was no.
  • How tough is this kid? His “Get to know Tate” story on DawgNation describes the time he ran into a mailbox when he was just a kid. 
  • Cool athlete factoid: He punts for the Darlington Tigers. Yes, the nearly 6-foot-7 bookend SEC offensive tackle punts. His coach, Tommy Atha, reports his net average to be right at 39 yards.

Those are the basics. Keep on reading for the peanut butter and strawberry jelly that was there to be found in the midst of his commitment date story.

It seems only fitting to share a few more intriguing stories from his commitment day in rapid-fire fashion.

Tate Ratledge chose UGA over Tennessee on Monday morning. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The UT orange “T” is coming down for Tate Ratledge

When driving across the beautiful Darlington School campus on Monday morning, it was easy to spot his father’s truck. That was the same one with the big orange “Power T” front vanity plate.

That’s a nod to family. This was about his son. Not college football fandom.

“I got a tag and I got a ‘G’ and I’ll make the change today,” Dean Ratledge said on Monday morning. “I will do it today. It is about a 12-inch. I will put it right in the front of my back window and I have got a license plate for the front end, too.”

“It is an exciting day. It was always his decision and this was about him.”

His mother felt pretty much the same way.

“This was and is about Tate,” Mary Stuart Ratledge said. “We’ve lived our dreams. This is about Tate’s dreams here with all of this. We are not doing away with the Tennessee orange now, but we will sure now wear a lot of red and black.”

“Taking the ‘T’ off now, that is really nothing. This is about Tate.”

Tate Ratledge is a hard guy to catch in a smile. He has his moments. But there are not many when a camera is around. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

What did his Dad think: The Tate Ratledge breakdown

His father is a football coach. His mother teaches A.P. United States History and A.P. History and A.P. European History at nearby Armuchee High School.

“Tate is a good kid,” his father said. “He’s always been a good kid. You want him to go somewhere he can continue to grow as a person and obviously as a football player. But you grow the man first here. Then you worry about a football player.”

‘I feel really comfortable that coach [Kirby] Smart and coach Pittman will be a good mentor to him and be there for him when he needs that kind of help. So I think he made a great decision.”

Alabama used to be a big contender here. But the departure of former line coach Brent Key for a job at Georgia Tech hurt those chances.

“It was probably his leader and then coach Key left,” his father said. “I think that made him dig deeper. Reality hit. It sunk in that this guy coaching there now may not be there for you when you get there. I think he realized that. He started looking at the towns more, the academics more and the overall coaching staff more.”

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