Tate attended North Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was named Gatorade National High School Offensive Player of the Year as a high school senior. During his senior year, Tate rushed for 1,417 yards on 149 carries for a 9.5 average and 14 TD's in 1983. He rushed for 1,400 yards and scored 23 TD's during his 11th grade year in 1982.
Tate played college football for the University of Georgia and led the team in rushing during the 1986 and 1987 seasons. He still holds many UGA weightlifting records.
His NFL debut for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took place on September 4, 1988 when he rushed for a modest 30 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles. Tate followed that performance with a 106-yard effort against the Detroit Lions. Tate played in three NFL seasons from 1988 to 1990. He led the Buccaneers in rushing during the 1988 and 1989 seasons.