The anticipation for Khalil Tate to roam the gridiron this fall continues to build as more pre-season accolades become attached to the Arizona Wildcats’ junior quarterback.
Sports Illustrated named Tate as the fourth-best player and top quarterback in its list of the Top 100 College Football Players of 2018. No other QB made the top-10.
“When he captivated the college football-viewing masses by repeatedly shredding Pac-12 defenses last season, Tate was a revelation—an out-of-left-field jolt for a team that had dropped two of its first four games and looked destined for a dismal season,” wrote SI.
Tate was topped on the list by Clemson’s Christian Wilkins, Stanford’s Bryce Love and Houston’s Ed Oliver. Wilkins and Oliver man the defensive line for their respective teams. Arizona will face Oliver in Week 2. Love, a running back, is considered by many the early favorite to hoist the Heisman Trophy in December.
Tate only started in eight games in 2017, but ran for 1,353 yards and 12 touchdowns, while competing 61 percent of his passes for 1,289 yards and nine touchdowns to eight interceptions.
He was the first player to Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week in four straight weeks.
SI wrote that Tate was not a “one-season wonder,” and despite teams having plenty of footage to scheme for him now, it won’t be a hindrance for the QB, who Wildcat fans believe can lead the program into uncharted waters in the desert.
“The Wildcats may have changed head coaches this offseason, with Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin replacing Rich Rodriguez, and defensive coordinators around the Pac-12 have plenty of tape on Tate now. But that doesn’t change what makes him such a devastating playmaker: the pinpoint passes into the outstretched arms of wide receivers, the searing sprints into open space, the ankle-breaking body feints in tight quarters,” wrote SI.
“... Tate’s assault on Pac-12 opponents will continue in 2018, and unlike last season, he’ll be leading Arizona’s first-team offense from the jump. The coaching swap shouldn’t be an obstacle, either; it wasn’t that long ago that Sumlin helped turn a gifted dual-threat quarterback in the SEC into a national phenomenon.”