Given the platform and the time zone, Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate isn’t exactly a Heisman Trophy candidate – yet. But if the last two weeks are any indication, the sophomore may someday, some year be mentioned with those in the rarefied air of college football.
“When he got his opportunity, he made the most of it,” said UofA head coach Rich Rodriguez. “He is actually playing better than we thought he would, particularly running-wise.”
In just two starts in 2017, Tate has rushed for 557 yards and six touchdowns. In a win over Colorado on October 7, Tate rushed for 327 yards. No quarterback in the history of FBS college football has ever gained more yards on the ground in a single game than Khalil Tate.
In the history of FBS college football.
“I’m still the same person,” the 18-year old Tate said.
In a sense, yes. Tate was a high school all-American quarterback coming out of California but began his sophomore season backing up incumbent Wildcat quarterback Brandon Dawkins. Still, though, how can a quarterback who appears to be THIS good be playing behind anybody?
“A guy plays really good,” said Rodriguez, “and you open yourself up. Where the heck has he been? Why hasn’t he been starting? I understand the question.”
Rodriguez will point to preseason practice evaluation and an injury that affected Tate in September but it’s all said with a, “yeah, missed this one” grin.
“I’m proud of him,” Rodriguez said. “He’s been wanting a shot and he’s had to earn it.”
Tate was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for both performances in UofA’s wins over Colorado and UCLA. No Wildcat has won that honor in back-to-back weeks since 1982.
Arizona plays at Cal Saturday.
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