Coming in as a top-5 recruit at his position in the class of 2020, offensive lineman Tate Ratledge was always destined for great things since. Add to the fact he stands at 6 foot 6 and weighs over 320 pounds, and Ratledge was primed and ready to start the 2021 season in the trenches. But on the first offensive drive in the first game of the season, Ratledge suffered a foot injury that prevented him from playing the rest of the year.
He opened up about his journey back to recovery on Thursday.
Ratledge explained that he didn’t have time to process his injury in real-time. By the time he realized he was hurt, he was already up running the next play, “I knew right away when it happened…Next thing I know, they’re calling a play, like I didn’t process it.”
But rather than pout about his inability to see the field, the third year displayed an immense level of maturity and gushed about how this injury “ended up being a good thing” for him saying, “You live and you learn.”
Even while he was on the sidelines, Ratledge said he never felt left out of the Dawgs’ 2021 National Championship run. “The whole time I definitely felt like I was a part of it,” he said. His teammates received plenty of credit in regards to his recovery process. Ratledge explained, “Seeing them everyday is really what kept me sane during that time…They played a really big role.”
Now that Ratledge, for the most part, is healthy, he can get valuable reps in practice. Some of these reps come against All-American defensive lineman Jalen Carter, but Ratledge doesn’t see it as the daunting matchup fans make it out to be. He simply said, “Going against him definitely gets me more confidence,” and that they make each other better.
That kind of mindset truly exemplifies the brotherhood that exists on this team. The bond Coach Kirby Smart and his team have created has been impressive this offseason.
Later this week, the team will begin preparation for their season opener against Oregon, according to Ratledge. Only then will we be able to see if this off-season hype is real.