In Week Two of the young college football season I was very impressed with a young man named Robert Patrick "Tate" Forcier whose a true freshmen quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines.
Robert received the nickname "Tate" after the 7-year-old child prodigy Fred Tate in the 1991 movie Little Man Tate. Not familiar with the movie but I am glad he kept the name. The name Tate Forcier has too sound more entertaining than Robert or Patrick and to boot it has a warrior type of feel to it on the football field, don't you think?
Tate came from a football family with his two older brothers playing quarterback as well as his father. His oldest brother Jason played at Michigan behind Chad Henne in 2006 until transferring to Stanford in 2008, and I am sure to Tate's delight, finished his graduate studies at Michigan in 2009 while rooming with Tate.
The second youngest, Chris, currently plays for Furman University. Tate's dad played at San Diego City College and the University of San Diego.
With Tate being the smallest of his brothers his competitive nature had to start early and as a third-grader his Junior Pee Wee team was awarded a chance among four teams to compete in the National Pop Warner Football Championship at the Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. His team lost in the final round.
After middle school he was recruited by Matt Lienart's alma mater and football powerhouse Mater Dei High School. Not focusing on his studies kept him from playing and led him to bounce around a few schools until he settled in at Scripps Ranch High School in his hometown of San Diego.
There he really took notice of scouts by leading his team to the playoffs in his sophomore and junior seasons, finishing his junior season with a 77 percent passer rating.
This effort led Rivals.com to rank him as the most accurate passer in the nation and despite losing his semifinal playoff game he entered it as the nation's leader in passing yards. Entering his freshman year at Michigan he was considered one of the top dual-threat quarterback recruits of the 2009 class.
Now a days Tate is dashing past defenses on his way to scoring a 31-yard rushing touchdown against Notre Dame on Saturday leaving one backer on his knees as he sold a perfect play-action and gave him a nifty stutter step for good measure.
The impressive move by Tate left me wondering if the guy's feelings were hurt. As impressive as that was, the play which won Michigan the game was a five-yard TD pass to Gregg Mathews with 11 seconds left to rally the Wolverines over the Irish 38-34.
Among his two games Tate has thrown for 419 yds, 5 TDs, 1 INT, and has a passer rating of 161.69. Besides the unfortunate pick he is indeed showing his hailed accuracy and I imagine over time he should become an even more dangerous threat.
His seemingly poised QB awareness combined with his rushing skills which have helped him rush for 107 yards and 1 TD for the season, leads me to that conclusion. Rushing for 24 attempts in 2009 has Michigan utilizing those skills well but you have to wonder how long will it be before defense's begin to catch up?
Tate assured us on Saturday when he said, "I don't get nervous." Will there be a wide-eyed moment this season for this very talented but after all true freshman QB?
In this early season its hard to gage which talented defense's on the Wolverines schedule will present him problems but surely the usually stout teams like Ohio St. and Penn St. will do their best to expose him. At 6'1 188, Tate Forcier has certainly made a case for smaller talented quarterbacks like himself.
How bright is his future? With some added strength and height, along with throwing strikes in the air and nimble feet on the ground, could he be become a Tebow-like player in the future? Perhaps even better. These questions and more will be answered in due time.
Tate is a part of a promising 2009 Michigan recruiting class that was ranked eighth nationally by Rivals.com, coming off of a dismal three-win 2008 season. With a 2-0 start it looks like Rich Rodriguez has found his QB to lead a successful season. You have to certainly think that amongst the excitement, Michigan and their fans are hoping the force continues to be with them.
Watch Tate Forcier and the Wolverines take on Eastern Michigan Saturday at 12 noon ET on the Big 10 Network.