Despite rumors of a transfer and a flirtation with the NFL draft, quarterback Khalil Tate is set to return to Arizona for his senior season.
Tate and his parents spoke with Wildcats coach Kevin Sumlin on Tuesday. They collectively concluded that Tate’s best move would be to return in 2019 and work to improve his game.
Tate passed for 2,530 yards with 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions this past season. He rushed for only 224 yards, down from 1,411 in 2017, as he struggled to play through a sprained left ankle.
Tate began the season on the short list of Heisman Trophy candidates but quickly fell out of the race amid a slow start. He rallied late in the year, and his yardage and TD totals were career highs.
Arizona sought an NFL draft evaluation for Tate from the league’s College Advisory Committee. The three possible outcomes are potential first-round pick, potential second-round pick or neither, which is a recommendation to stay in school. The committee advised Tate to remain at Arizona.
Tate is an incredibly gifted athlete who can throw the ball 70-plus yards and outrun the fastest defensive backs when healthy. He’s also young for his class, having turned 20 in late October.
Tate’s return gives him another year to work with offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, who altered his scheme during the season in an attempt to take advantage of Tate’s skills. It also will enable Arizona to take its time with young quarterbacks Kevin Doyle, Jamarye Joiner and Grant Gunnell, who’s set to arrive in Tucson in January.
UA inks 20 players for the 2019 class
In Kevin Sumlin's first official recruiting class at Arizona, the Wildcats corralled 20 players for 2019.
The Wildcats finished with the seventh-best recruiting class in the Pac-12, per 247Sports.com, an improvement from 11th a year ago. Arizona lost Belgian defensive end Sylvain Yondjouen to Georgia Tech, but the Wildcats added a pair of Houston four-star players in wide receiver Jalen "Boobie" Curry and cornerback Bobby Wolfe.
Sumlin's class is a mix of Texans, junior college linemen, California athletes, an American Samoa linebacker and a pair of in-state prospects.
Sumlin spoke to the media about Arizona's 2019 class, Khalil Tate and the running backs coach vacancy.
Outlook of the 2019 class
Sumlin on 3-star QB Grant Gunnell
Kevin Sumlin on Grant Gunnell being the all-time passing leader in Texas high school football history: “Last time I checked, there were a lot of guys that came out of there.” pic.twitter.com/5Fa03aQ8bN— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) December 19, 2018
Competition at QB
Kevin Sumlin on a quarterback room of Khalil Tate, Grant Gunnell, Kevin Doyle, Jamarye Joiner and Rhett Rodriguez: pic.twitter.com/pJCqEPTjfG— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) December 19, 2018
Khalil Tate's return
Kevin Sumlin on Khalil Tate returning to Arizona: pic.twitter.com/rjHKJXe7ap— Justin Spears (@JustinESports) December 19, 2018
Impact of JuCo players
Kevin Sumlin says junior college players add “maturity” and “experience” especially on the line. pic.twitter.com/ZuogXQT05X— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) December 19, 2018
Adding Boobie and Bobby
Kevin Sumlin on adding Boobie Curry and Bobby Wolfe to the 2019 class: pic.twitter.com/gLoM5KdYzG— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) December 19, 2018
DeMarco Murray could be in Tucson soon
Kevin Sumlin on DeMarco Murray being rumored as a possible candidate to be Arizona’s next RBs coach: pic.twitter.com/mvfoJBzui4— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) December 19, 2018
Kevin Sumlin on the importance of recruiting Polynesian players: pic.twitter.com/8zrQWPjQmj— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) December 19, 2018
Room for grad transfers?
Kevin Sumlin says Arizona “probably” has a spot for graduate transfers. pic.twitter.com/uONF7ZtXtj— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) December 19, 2018
Notable notes from Sumlin
Kevin Sumlin says he expects Jace Whittaker and PJ Johnson to return to Arizona for 2019.— Justin Spears (@JustinESports) December 19, 2018
Kevin Sumlin says he wasn't warned about Monsoon season in Tucson during the summer. Says the new indoor practice center is a nice addition. "I can have a standard practice time. ... I've become a weatherman since I've been here."— Justin Spears (@JustinESports) December 19, 2018