The Ohio State Buckeyes have had a significant 48 hours of recruiting. Thad Matta’s group accepted a commitment late Monday night from ESPN 60 small forward Jae’Sean Tate (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central). Tate is ranked the No. 43 overall player in the junior class.
On Sunday, the Buckeyes had landed No. 27 overall junior Keita Bates-Diop (Bloomington, Ill./University). It’s clear the Buckeyes are already on the verge of piecing together a strong 2014 recruiting class.
Tate had visited Columbus unofficially a number of times this fall. Over time, he’d developed a deep relationship with Matta, one that proved to be vital in allowing him to feel comfortable enough to pledge. Tate also considered Michigan and Iowa.
“Out of all the schools that were recruiting me that offered, I loved them all, but there was something about coach Matta,” Tate said. “I could look in his eyes and know that he was telling the 100 percent truth.”
Momentum is big in recruiting. Tate saw Bates-Diop’s pledge and felt Ohio State was onto something in the junior class. Not only did he want to be a part of it, he figured there was no need to mess around. In his heart, he knew where he wanted to be.
“They want me to be that underrated guy, sort of like Evan Turner,” Tate said. “They want me to be a hard-nosed, athletic type 2-3 guard. They want me to improve my jump shot a little more.”
Hard-nosed is a good way to describe Tate, who plays with tremendous passion and intensity. He was groomed to be a Big Ten player -- his game, his physicality and his approach are a perfect match for the rugged conference.
As a sophomore, Tate averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per game as Pickerington Central won the Division I state title. His name should ring a bell to Buckeye fans, as the 6-foot-5 Tate is the son of former Buckeye Jermaine Tate, who played two seasons at Ohio State before transferring to Cincinnati.
The Buckeyes will have plenty of scholarships in 2014. By adding Bates-Diop and now Tate, Matta has himself two quality players and potentially a star in Bates-Diop. By putting two in the bank, Matta can turn his attention to others and use Tate’s personality and Bates-Diop’s star power to help lure what is shaping up to be a banner recruiting class.
BuckeyeNation's Brad Bournival contributed to this report.