Buckeyes WR Carnell Tate pushes forward through his grief after mom’s death

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The move to college can be hard for any young person. Doing that as a college athlete adds another layer of adjustment.

Carnell Tate came to Ohio State last year with both of those challenges. Then in mid-July, Tate’s mother died in a shooting in Chicago. Now the Buckeyes wide receiver is finding success on the field through his grief.

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“Carnell’s gonna be special. I think Carnell is probably a better point right now than I was going into my sophomore year,” former Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. said last August heading into the 2023 season.

It didn’t take long for the true freshman to show out. In the third game of the year, Tate caught his first touchdown as a Buckeye.

“It helped me build my confidence a lot and let me know I was on the right path doing the right things,” Tate said. “[Marvin’s] sophomore year he had a great year. So hopefully I can go top that or be as good as that. It definitely built confidence in me.”

From the way Tate played in 2023, it didn’t look like he needed any confidence. In his first season at Ohio State, he averaged nearly 15 yards a catch. But on the inside, he needed that boost, badly.

Nearly two months prior catching that first touchdown, and just weeks before those words of support from Harrison, Jr., Tate’s mom, Ashley Griggs, died in a drive-by shooting in Chicago.

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“It was it was pretty tough. The team was there for me. They were my backbone. They they helped me get through everything and stuff like that,” Tate said. “They showed their support when I needed them the most. So I’m definitely stronger since it happened. I’m still coping with it, but I’ve definitely become a better person since the thing happened.”

This offseason, Tate continues to push himself and has been challenging his teammates, especially his classmate, Brandon Inniss. He was on Tate’s 7-on-7 team before coming to Ohio State.

“We just want to be the best and we know when it’s our time to come we’re going to do that and definitely get a national championship,” Inniss said.

Tate says they just try to make each other better.

“I know what I can get out of him. He knows what he can get out of me,” Tate said. “And I know even when he’s doing great he can be better.”

It’s a friendship that Tate doesn’t take for granted.

“He was there during my lowest time so I’m always going to be behind him,” Tate said. “Life’s not fair. Not everything goes the way you want it so I just kept my head up and kept pushing.’

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