Sports Illustrated published a story on Khalil Tate this week that outlined some of the reasons the Arizona Wildcats quarterback failed to live up to the massive hype that landed him on the magazine’s cover heading into the 2018 season.
It is well-documented that Tate suffered an ankle injury Week 2 against Houston that hindered his mobility throughout the season, but his father told SI that there was more to it than that.
“He had a shoulder and toe” injury, Brian Tate told SI. “I know my son—I know when he can’t do his best, it frustrates him.”
Per the story, Khalil Tate only started feeling 100 percent this April, and that he had to miss practices during game weeks last season just so that he felt decent enough to play.
Tate only missed one game (at UCLA), but he only rushed for 224 yards as a junior, nearly 1,200 fewer than he scampered for as a sophomore (though he did throw for a career-high 26 touchdowns and over 2,500 yards).
“It was very difficult,” Tate told SI. “Knowing what I can do when I am healthy… Not being able to be healthy is kind of like, ‘Ah, I wish I can do this and wish I can do that, but I physically can’t,’” he told SI “I couldn’t run. It’s not that I didn’t want to run. I wanted to, but I couldn’t.”
Tate is healthy heading into 2019, but the expectations are much lower this time around, as the Wildcats were selected to finish fifth in the six-team Pac-12 South division.
The hope is that Tate can recapture some of the speed and elusiveness he showed as a sophomore, continue improving as a passer, and lead the Wildcats back to a bowl game in his second season under Kevin Sumlin.
The leadership aspect was also missing at times last season, but reports from fall camp suggest Tate is making strides in that area—and is on a better wavelength with both Sumlin and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone.
“I think he feels more comfortable with us, we feel more comfort with him. And he feels more comfort with the offense,” Mazzone said last week. “And I think he’s really he’s really decided take ownership in the offense. So when you take ownership of something, you better fix things if they’re broken.”