27-year-old freshman quarterback Donavan Tate has left the Arizona Wildcats, according to Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star.
A little Arizona football news for you on Christmas Eve: QB Donavan Tate has left the team. Former No. 3 pick in MLB draft was attempting a football comeback. Will get some comments from RichRod in a bit.— Michael Lev (@MichaelJLev) December 24, 2017
Tate, selected No. 3 overall by the San Diego Padres in the 2009 MLB Draft, is attempting to reinvent himself in football after his Major League Baseball career was derailed by injuries and substance addiction.
Tate, who redshirted in 2017, is still listed as a student in UA’s phonebook, but UA head coach Rich Rodriguez said the Cartersville, Georgia native will look to play at a school closer to home.
Rich Rod on Donovan Tate, who will not be returning to Arizona next season. pic.twitter.com/RVTs0UrdwP— Robby Leaño (@robleano1) December 25, 2017
Teammates spoke highly of Tate back in fall camp as he readjusted to football after being away from the sport since high school.
“He’s just being a sponge and that’s all you can ask for him to do is be a sponge, absorb everything you can and just learn,” said UA quarterback Brandon Dawkins. “Going from being a professional athlete in one sport and then trying to flip it over to another sport, that’s a feat in itself. The fact that he’s taking it on full speed, I can only commend him for it.”
Arizona’s quarterback depth chart is fairly crowded in the near future with Khalil Tate only being a sophomore and highly-touted Cienega product Jamarye Joiner expected to join the team next fall (though he did not sign in the December signing period), perhaps a reason for Donavan Tate’s departure.
If Tate simply decided football isn’t for him, hopefully he is successful in his next endeavor. He has come along way since he hit “rock bottom” in his battle with drug and alcohol addiction.
“I know this is my last chance to live up to the dual-sport athletic brilliance I displayed while in high school, when nearly every college in the country would have begged me to sign with them in either football or baseball,” he wrote before the season (via Bleacher Report). “I have no idea how this will wind up, but I know where I've been, and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that I'm not going to take the present moment for granted.”
Here’s a good read on all that Tate has been through the last several years.