TAMPA — Coaching changes at Florida and Michigan forced Wharton High receiver Auden Tate to rethink his commitment.
But after some uncertainty, Tate stuck with his first instinct and signed with Florida State on Wednesday.
"It was crazy …but I had fun with it," Tate said after his signing day ceremony with nine other Wharton athletes. "I'm glad it's over now, so I can focus on being ready for Florida State."
And Tate is focused on trying to be the next Kelvin Benjamin.
Tate is a four-star prospect and one of 247Sports' top 250 players in the country. At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Tate has a big frame like Benjamin and believes he can have an immediate impact with the Seminoles in the red zone.
"It adds something that was missing this year with Kelvin Benjamin gone," Tate said. "A safety blanket who can go up and make plays when he's covered."
Tate said he had to rethink his decision in January, when the Gators assembled their coaching staff full of assistants he knew at other schools. He admitted to being a little awestruck when new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh flew down to meet with him.
But Tate's late official visit to FSU reminded him why he wants to continue his career in Tallahassee, where he plans to study communications.
"I had the same feeling I had when I first went — the same feeling, the same butterflies…" Tate said. "I feel like we're building a dynasty there."
Wharton's other signees Wednesday were: Theo Hyppolite (football, New Mexico Military Institute), De'Andre Brown (football, Soutth Carolina State), Jordan Kelly (soccer, Montevallo), Vanina Iordanova (tennis, Rutgers), Dee Sopapong (swimming, Cincinnati), Makaleigh Dooley (softball, University of Tampa), Erica Matich (softball, UT), James Davison (lacrosse, UT) and Nathan Bleckley (lacrosse, UT).