At this rate, it would be surprising if Khalil Tate didn’t get an invite to New York.
ESPN released its latest Heisman Watch on Tuesday, and the Arizona Wildcats quarterback checks in at No. 3 on the list, only behind Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and Stanford running back Bryce Love.
According to the Heisman Trophy’s official website, at least three players are guaranteed to receive an invite to New York as a Heisman finalist (in 2016, there were five finalists).
If Tate is one of those finalists, he would become the first Arizona player to ever receive the honor.
The winner will be announced Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. MST in Times Square, but it’s unlikely it will be Tate. Mayfield is having a ridiculous season for an Oklahoma team on track to make the College Football Playoff. It’s his award to lose.
But there are also certain disadvantages Tate has, too.
For one, the sophomore has only been UA’s full-time quarterback for six games. For another, he plays for an unranked team. And, lastly, he isn’t in the spotlight nearly as much as the other candidates since four of his six games have been televised on the Pac-12 Network (and at a super late hour, too) — not exactly easy for the whole country to tune in.
Still, aside from Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, Tate is the youngest Heisman candidate on the list, so even if he doesn’t win it this year, there will surely be more opportunities in the future.
In the meantime, Tate can probably start packing his bags for the Big Apple.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire