It all started on the little league football field --- No, let me start over.
It all started with a man Named Benny Tate Sr. From the stories I've heard, this was where the athletic ability of the clan of Tates (when I say clan, its an understatement) started. Ben, as he was called, was a very athletic man playing in the Negro Baseball League as well as participating in many other sports. His athletic ability carried over into his children girls and boys. However, the boys in the family really excelled in football. In the 70's twins Ronnie and Donnie Tate were top performers in high school with Ronnie Tate playing quarterback and Donnie Tate playing running back( With Donnie wearing number 44, it started a generation of Tates wearing the number). At the end of his high school year, Ronnie went to North Carolina Central and was then drafted into the NFL. Not Long after, another Tate came along in high school and continued top athletic ability of the Tates. His name was Benny Tate Jr. Nicknamed after his father Ben Sr, Ben Jr also performed at a high level in high school, wearing the number 44 like his brother Donnie. Following in his big brother Ronnie's footsteps, Ben Jr goes to North Carolina Central continuing the number 44 tradition, where he becomes one of the top running backs to have played at North Carolina Central. His career in college was so good that he was drafted by the Detroit Lions. While Ben Jr was making it happen on the college level, along came another Tate in high school making noise on the defensive side of the ball. The 4th child on the football field of Ben Tate Sr's clan was Gregory Tate. In the 80's Greg played linebacker in high school showing that not only on offense but also on defense this clan was a force to be reckoned with. Continuing the tradition to wear number 44, Greg made it a number to avoid on the defensive side.
And then there was the next generations.
In the 90's there was the first of the next generation to play foolball coming out of the Ben Tate Sr clan named Ernest Shockley. A grandson of Ben Sr, Ernest was the first grandson to wear the number 44 and the second to reak havoc on the defensive side of the ball. As a defensive end, Ernest, standing 6'5'' put fear in a lot of quarterbacks in high school and was so impressive that the Delaware State University football team took notice. Ernest had an up-hill climb to become as productive on the college level and when it was all said and done, became a top performer for Del Sate.
As we entered into the 21st century, Ben Tate Sr's clan continued to keep his name alive and represented well. Dalonte Tate, the son of Donnie Tate, just finished high school football wearing the number 44 as a running back in high school. He followed in his father, uncles and cousins footsteps with top play on the high schoool level and looking to go to the next level of play.
Out of all of football players from the Ben Tate Sr's clan, this next grandson continued the number 44 tradition, top play as a running back, top play in college, and the first to make it in the NFL. Benny Tate III. Little Benny, as his family calls him and to distinguish him with his grandfather and father(but far from little at 5'11'' - 220 lbs), achieved the ultimate goal for a football player that loves the game and his family --- Get drafted and get a spot on an NFL team. Lil Ben started in pop warner and salvation army leagues with the guidance of his father Ben Jr and uncle Ronnie who got try-outs on the NFL level to know what it took to get to the NFL. That was a plus for Lil Ben along with the burning desire at a young age to be the best he could be. Lil Ben had all the ingredients (knowledge from father and uncle, the pedigree, and good work ethic) to become a professional and the right ingrediants they were. Ben Tate III was chosen in the second round(58th overall) to play for the Houston Texans in the 2010 NFL Draft. More to come on Ben Tate III's path to the NFL with the next update to this website.
Ben Tate Day is a day I hope will continue annually, for the next 3-5 years anyway, as it signifies a lot for the town of Berlin, the youth, and the community as a whole. Ben Tate Day is a day that honors one of Berlin's own natives and his inspiring accomplishments for youth in a generation that's struggling to stay focued on positive environments, whatever that may be for him or her. Benny Tate III was honored by the Town of Berlin for his accomplishments as a student who finished high school and college early with a desire to become a part of something positive after school (secondary and college) was over. Ben Tate Day honored a gentleman, student with a bacholar's degree in criminal justice, and an athlete that will perform on the highest level in football -- The NFL (National Football League). Ben Tate III was drafted by the Houston Texans in the second round (58th, the first for a running back by the Texans). A day coordinated by his first cousin Shytina Drummond, Bryon Johnson, and Barry Brittingham started off with a parade through the town of Berlin and included a ceremony with speeches from the Mayor, Gee Williams, county commissioner James Purnell, representatives from Stephen Decatur high, Principal Lou Taylor and football coach Bob Knox, where Ben attended and played football for 3 years, representatives from Snow Hill high, then principal Mark Record and football assistant coach Charles Holmes at the Stephen Decatur Park. The event was supported by family, relatives, friends, classmates, and fans attending to witness this special occassion. After speeches were made about him, Ben then spoke to the kids in attendance inspiring them to never give up on their dreams no matter who says what. He encouraged them to get a good education as well. Kid's have someone they can look see that's right off the playground they are now on as say they can too be blessed to become whatever they strive to be. After his speech to the kids, Ben took time out to sign over 200 T-shirts which were given in a sponsorship by The Shorebirds baseball team. Local vendor Super Soda sponsored the drinks for this great event. CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS