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April 24, 2010

Tate added to aging Seahawks receiving corps

Six months ago, Pete Carroll was trying to devise ways to keep the ball out of the hands of Notre Dame game-breaking wide receiver Golden Tate.

This morning, he and his coaching staff with the Seattle Seahawks are coming up with ways to feature Tate with the football in his hands.

Carroll and Tate - USC and Notre Dame - have been brought together as one now that the Seahawks selected Tate in the second round of the NFL draft with the No. 60 overall pick.

"This is truly a touchdown-maker," said Carroll of Tate, who caught 93 passes for 1,496 yards and 15 touchdowns in '09, including eight for 117 yards and two touchdowns in last year's 34-27 loss to the Trojans in Notre Dame Stadium.

"This is a guy that's going to get the ball in his hands, he's going to break tackles, he's going to run around the field and make some things happen in a very special way."

Tate capped an outstanding 24-hour run for the Seahawks, who selected offensive tackle Russell Okung from Oklahoma State with the 6th overall pick, and then nabbed Texas safety Earl Thomas with the 14th selection of the first round.

"(Tate) was really truly sitting by himself," said Seahawks general manager John Schneider. "He was the last player we had rated in the first round who was left."

"We had to do it," said Seahawks area scout Jason Barnes. "It was obvious. He's a good player. We were holding our breath for a minute. We're just happy that he fell to us."

Tate should be happy too. He joins a Seattle receiving corps that has become a bit long in the tooth. Ten-year veteran T.J. Houshmandzadeh led the Seahawks in receptions last season with 79, but he averaged just 11.5 yards per receptions and scored just three touchdowns.

Nine-year veteran Deion Branch caught just 45 passes for 437 yards (9.7-yard average) and two touchdowns. Nine other wide receivers dot the current Seattle roster, and none caught more than Deon Butler's 15 receptions for 175 yards.

"I wanted to go into a good situation and I think playing for Seattle is a great situation," said Tate who, along with his father, Golden Tate, Jr., was informed of the Seahawks' choice in Nashville. "I can learn from T.J., and I kind of have a feel for Coach Carroll's coaching style. I'm excited."

Tate was caught a bit off guard by Seattle's selection.

"I didn't have any contact with Seattle," Tate said. "I didn't know that the coach of a rival team that we played against every year - and beat us every year - was going to stand on a table for me and draft me."

The Seahawks had Tate pegged from the outset.

"We always had our eyes on him," Barnes said. "Watch the tape. That's all you've got to do. A lot of people compare him to Hines Ward, which I can really see as far as his aggressive style of play, his strength and his feistiness.

"He brings that running back mentality when he has the ball in his hands. Coaches, scouts, everybody's looking for that. With the ball in your hands, take it the distance, break tackles…that's what he does."


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