JACKSONVILLE – You can’t fault Deon Pate for wanting to go out on top in his final prep season. The tight end/defensive end transferred over to powerhouse Trinity Christian on June 10 after three years at Fleming Island.
The 6’2 1/2″, 240-pounder had 49 tackles, 23 for a loss, nine sacks, three forced fumbles as a junior, his third season on varsity and second full year as a starter.
Pate made the decision to move to Trinity Christian simply to gain more exposure and to earn a chance at a state title. Despite the move down from 7A to 3A, Pate has a big opportunity to finish a winner under 26-year head coach Verlon Dorminey’s watch.
The Conquerers have been to the state tournament 11 times in Dorminey’s tenure winning six times (2002, 2003, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015). Included in that mark, a 38-3 record and three consecutive state titles.
Trinity Christian posted a ridiculous 470-point differential last season on the way to a perfect 14-0 record. Dorminey owns an 80.1 win percentage in 25 seasons as the man in charge.
“I’ve known all the coaches for all of my high school career,” Pate told Prep Sports Scouting. “I love the coaching staff. They bring a lot of energy to everything that they do.”
Coming off a solid season a year ago, Pate likes his progress but says he knows he can always do things to improve his game.
His first season as a full-time starter came as a sophomore where he says he gained his confidence.
“In the middle of my sophomore season because I figured out why not use football to pay for my education for college. I started to be really good at it and give my full effort.”
Pate began playing football at age 10 at defensive end, the same position he’s played all the way through the process.
At Fleming Island, Pate also starred on the basketball team something he says helped a lot with explosiveness, jumping and conditioning for football.
In terms of his biggest strengths, Pate pointed to his speed, quickness off the line and pass rushing ability.
During the spring game at Fleming Island, he started at both defensive end and tight end. He’s looking to do just that for Trinity as well.
“The team is on your back. If there’s any struggle you can be the one to pick the team up,” on why he likes being a starter on both sides of the ball. “You’re a leader on the field.”
Eight schools have extended offers to Pate thus far: UNC-Charlotte, Buffalo, Tennessee State, Alcorn State, Charleston Southern, Lafayette, Liberty, Mercer
On top of that, Purdue, Lake Forest, Cincinnati, Kentucky and Florida have all shown interest. He told me that UF is working on an offer for him now and he plans to work out for them soon. Purdue is also in contact with him often.
Out of his current offers, he really likes UNC-Charlotte because of defensive line coach Aaron Curry, a former NFL player. He says Curry texts him and gives him information all the time.
Later in the summer, Pate plans to visit both Florida State and Southern Mississippi.
His biggest role model in his life is his dad.
“He pushes me to my limits. He knows I can be better at whatever craft I have to do to make it.”
Pate has dreamt of making it to the NFL ever since middle school started. He says he knows he wants to use football as a career and get better as a person to help the players around him succeed as well.
This is a big year for Pate, he proved his worth at Fleming Island the past couple of seasons, but now under a new system and a tremendous program he can really flourish.
As a pure pass rusher, Deon Pate is a rarity in this day and age of high school football. He knows how to get after the quarterback and create havoc. Pate should be a ton of fun to watch this season at his new stomping grounds.
Favorite players to watch – JJ Watt, Ray Lewis
Playlist before games – Kodak Black, French Montana, Chief Keef
Favorite movies – When The Game Stands Tall, Friday Night Lights
Favorite TV shows – Friday Night Tykes, Family Guy
Fun fact about you that no one knows – “People underestimate my personality. They say I’m tall and intimidating, but once you get to know me I’m a cool person.”
Nickname(s) from teammates or friends – “DJ”, “D-Pate”
Game film: Pate’s Hudl tape
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.