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22 Days to Kickoff: BEN TATE

Oakland Raiders v Cleveland Browns

Ben Tate is the all-time leading rusher in Maryland High School Football history.

Ben Tate averaged 10.9 yards per carry in high school (good lord).


Ben Tate was the 44th rated recruit and 12th best running back in America coming out of HS and chose Auburn over Maryland and Penn State. That year’s runningback class included Shady McCoy, Beanie Wells, CJ Spiller, and DeMarco Murray because in 2006 kids still wanted to play runningback.

Ben Tate was the prototypical early 00’s back. If you looked up “Runningback” in the 2005 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, a picture of Ben Tate would decleat you like you were Eric Berry

Auburn already had a guy named Kenny Irons when Tate arrived on campus. Tate still was named Freshman All-American because in his supporting role he was able to shine. In a lot of ways he was Kenny Irons’ polar opposite. Tate didn’t talk a lot. Even with Irons starting, It was hard to keep number forty four off the field.

I still think it’s rad that he wore 44, although I also think it contributed to him being the most underrated runningback in Auburn history.

Ben Tate had a really good sophomore season, averaged almost five yards per carry, and looked like he was going to be a bell-cow back going into his junior year. So obviously Auburn switched to the TONY FRANKLIN SYSTEM and everything was terrible.

2008 was the outlier in Ben Tate’s career and probably why people don’t remember him for the talented back he was.

He came back for his senior year because 2008 wasn’t exactly going to be a springboard into the NFL draft for many Auburn offensive players. In the at-the-time shiny and new Gus Malzahn offense, Ben Tate was a star. He might still be the best Gus Malzahn runningback ever at Auburn, non Kerryon Johnson edition. Ben Tate wasn’t a back you could split out at wideout or line up as a punt returner. He wasn’t interested much in Wildcat QBing. He lined up next to or behind the QB and ran downhill in a bad mood and was a guaranteed positive gain.

Pat Dye would have loved Ben Tate.

Big, Silent, number in the 40s.—Ben Tate was a workhorse. I still think had he gotten two years with Malzahn he could have made a run at more Auburn records. I definitely think he would have been bonkers in the 2010 backfield next to Cam.

I ranked Ben Tate in my top 10 Auburn runningbacks list for this webpage and I am not ashamed to admit it. He was really good on some lousy offensive teams. However, he was a good and useful piece and that’s really all we want out of a runningback.

Ben Tate played for six years in the NFL, with the best coming as part of a two headed monster in Houston alongside Arian Foster. He was a quality NFL back in an era where that started to become less and less needed by teams. Now I don’t even know if there’s many teams with a back like Ben Tate. Most runningbacks in the NFL look a lot more like slot receivers who happen to run a few times. The game done changed.

He was also part of what might be the Auburner’s best all time video: