Arizona Wildcats football is in uncharted territory.
There’s national (positive) chatter about a coaching move, nothing but good news about recruiting, and a revitalized fanbase despite coming off a loss to Purdue to close the season with four losses in the last five games.
And now there’s this.
Phenom quarterback Khalil Tate, who thrust himself into the national spotlight with one of the greatest months in college football history this past October, has moved up to the third favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this year.
According to Bovada, Tate now has 9/1 odds to take home the sport’s most prestigious individual award. He only has worse odds than Stanford running back Bryce Love (7/1) and Wisconsin running back Johnathan Taylor (8/1).
Here’s a look at the full list:
In case you were wondering how good Bovada is at this, here are their opening lines from last year:
The combination of Tate and Kevin Sumlin has a lot of people talking. While Rich Rodriguez was still the head coach at Arizona, Tate’s Heisman odds were 20/1, eighth best at the time. Now with Sumlin in charge, there are a lot of Johnny Manziel comparisons out there for Tate, which are pretty fair.
Tate threw for 1,591 yards and 14 TDs while also rushing for 1,411 yards and 12 TDs in 11 games, eight of those being starts. Coming on for an injured Brandon Dawkins against Colorado, Tate rushed for an FBS quarterback single-game record of 327 yards, which was also the biggest rushing output by a player in a game in FBS this year.
For comparison, Manziel had 3,419 passing yards and 24 touchdowns while adding 1,181 yards with 19 scores with his legs in his Heisman year of 2012. The next year, Johnny Football threw for 4,114 yards and 37 touchdowns while his rushing numbers dropped to 759 yards and nine touchdowns.
It will certainly be interesting to see what happens this year with an almost entirely new coaching staff in place in Tucson. With Tate’s skillset being so similar to Manziel’s, you’re going to hear those comparisons constantly, especially now that both Tate and Arizona are in the national conversation.