Ohio State has reeled in its first five-star recruit in the class of 2023.
Carnell Tate, a wide receiver who played at IMG Academy last season, announced his commitment to the Buckeyes on Monday, picking them over finalists LSU, Notre Dame and Tennessee.
The Buckeyes were the favorites to land Tate and had him near the top of their recruiting board for the last year, but had to hold off a late push by the Volunteers.
Much of the speculation about Tennessee’s efforts centered on the program’s aggressive approach to fostering name, image and likeness opportunities, a factor in securing a previous commitment in this cycle from Nico Iamaleava, a five-star quarterback from Southern California.
Few programs, though, have been as well-positioned to land highly ranked wide receiver prospects in recent years as Ohio State.
Based on the composite rankings compiled by 247Sports, Tate is poised to become the fifth five-star receiver to sign with the Buckeyes over the last five cycles, following Emeka Egbuka in 2021, Julian Fleming and Jaxon Smith-Njigba in 2020 and Garrett Wilson in 2019. Egbuka and Fleming were also the highest-ranked receiver recruits in their classes.
Tate is ranked as the No. 3 receiver and the No. 28 overall prospect in the 2023 class.
The Buckeyes are also in pursuit of Brandon Inniss, another five-star who is the second-ranked receiver in this class and visited Columbus this past weekend. Tate and Inniss are teammates together on a 7-on-7 team known as the South Florida Express. Inniss is from Fort Lauderdale.
Their other committed receiver in the class is Bryson Rodgers, a four-star who is from Zephyrhills, Florida, and announced his decision in April.
Before Tate transferred last year to the IMG Academy, the prep powerhouse in Bradenton, Florida, last year, he grew up in Chicago, and his commitment video featured several clips of the city’s downtown skyline.
He attended Marist High School and caught 28 passes for 444 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman in 2019, but he did not play as a sophomore in 2020 after Illinois postponed fall sports seasons to the following spring amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Tate is viewed as a complete pass catching prospect and is listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds.
Until he announced his pledge, the highest-ranked commitment in the 2023 cycle for the Buckeyes had been Luke Montgomery, a four-star offensive lineman from Findlay. He’s ranked as the fourth-best offensive tackle and No. 42 overall prospect in the class.
The addition of a five-star put Ohio State in a position to jump in the overall rankings for the class of 2023, returning to the top-five.
After it had fallen to No. 8 in recent weeks, the Buckeyes lept all the way to No. 2 behind only Notre Dame.
Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.